Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 833-834
AST 833 –Aggravation of a Situation, Helpless Yun Duan
"We are friends." Qing Shui replied with a smile.
"Hmph. That isn't a good answer. Uncle, do you like Sister Yun Duan?" Long Lingyun's beautiful eyes lit up brightly as she looked at Qing Shui.
"Children shouldn't keep on asking these kind of adult questions." Qing Shui sat down on the Silver-horned Eagle.
Ling Longyun went quiet.
This was his second time coming to the Cloud Adventurer Guild. He had come here as an adventurer on his first visit but as a guest on the second visit.
The Adventurer Guild never closed. The group entered the Adventurer Guild through another big entrance. The moment he entered, he saw the familiar big courtyard, pavilions, fake mountains and pond……
Yun Duan led the way without stopping. The two elderly men left as soon as they entered the Adventurer Guild. Qi Gang, Qian Mo and Long Lingyun left too.
Long Lingyun seemed to be very reluctant as she left.
"Uncle, don't forget that we have to go on an adventure when you have time." Long Lingyun didn't forget to remind Qing Shui before she left.
Qing Shui waved his hand and promised her as she left. Qing Shui knew he wasn't going to stay here too long. It was likely he couldn't go on another adventure with her before he had to leave.
Qing Shui had come here alone to the Central Continent, but he didn't expect to actually meet Yun Duan here. Right now, he was walking with her towards her house. He had only knew now that this woman was the leader of the Cloud Adventurer Guild.
All of the people who managed Adventurer Guilds were addressed as the Leader.
Qing Shui had initially wondered why this Cloud Adventurer Guild was named after Yun Duan*. But now it seemed like that they had intended for some time for her to become their leader. [TL Note: The Cloud Adventurer Guild translates to Yun Duan Adventurer Guild in chinese.]
Yun Duan and Qing Shui walked towards the path at the northern courtyard, which was a little more than a hundred metres wide. The two of them walked side by side, with a speed that wasn't really fast.
"You are the leader of the Cloud Adventurer Guild. If you go to the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild, what happens here?" Qing Shui asked with a smile.
"My father will manage here." Yun Duan replied softly.
"How long has this Adventurer Guild used your name?" Qing Shui was very curious about this. He wanted to know if this place had only changed its name after she had become the leader.
"Hehe. This is quite funny. Grandfather had said that I was destined to lead a good life as soon as I was born. He said that I would have glory, splendor, wealth and rank and would even make the Adventurer Guild shine. Therefore, he changed the name of the Adventurer Guild without any second thought on the very day I was born. On that day, I was also named Yun Duan*, with the intention of eventually reaching that height. He had just passed away not long ago and things turned out this way. Perhaps he didn't expect that the person he had so much faith in would become like this." Yun Duan's words were very calm, but her grievance could still be seen. Although her tears didn't fall, she had reached the pinnacle of the situation, a circumstance where there were no longer any tears to shed.[TL Note: Yun Duan means high in the clouds.]
Qing Shui was startled after he heard what Yun Duan told him. It was unfortunate that the grandfather she was talking about had passed away. Otherwise, he would've wanted to meet this old man who had single-handedly supported the Cloud Adventurer Guild. He was also curious about how he could predict that his granddaughter would be destined to have wealth and prestige.
Qing Shui didn't believe in fortune telling back in his previous world, but now he could divine some things. He could tell the fortune of a person by reading his facial features and bones. If a person who had great bone structure also had good aptitude, it wouldn't be too difficult for him or her to become the strongest with just a little luck. Of course, for this to be true, he or she would need to have exceptional bone structure and aptitude.
Bones were bizarre things. Some people had not only good bone structures but also good brains. It was very easy for an extremely bright person to stand out among his peers. Of course, not everything was absolute. There were also many people with unrecognized talents. However, this world advocated martial arts, so the chance of that happening were pretty small.
Boys and girls with well proportioned skeleton frames and good constitutions would usually be handsome and beautiful when they grew up. These external conditions shouldn't be underestimated because they would sometimes play an important role, especially with women.
The appearance of a woman could cause the downfall of kingdoms and cities, of causing a calamity to its people. A heaven-defying beauty could even topple a large clan or sect. It was evident that the effects of cultivating beauty and temperament to its maximum for women would definitely be comparable to that of a weapon.
So, it was slightly easier to tell the fortune of a woman by reading her facial features. Qing Shui knew how to do it too. Unfortunately, he hadn't really believe in it, but now, he knew that Yun Duan's grandfather was accurate in his readings.
He had decided to give Yun Duan everything he could, or at least a peaceful environment. Glory, splendor, wealth and rank weren't too difficult to attain. As long as her Cloud Adventurer Guild became powerful, she'd have everything.
It wasn't like the Cloud Adventurer Guild didn't have any powerful cultivators. Qing Shui knew this as soon as he had entered the Cloud Adventurer Guild. He already knew some of the reasons behind this with just his intuition and the information he heard.
The Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild was the most powerful guild. They used threats and bribes to break up the powerful cultivators of the Cloud Adventurer Guild and force them into a corner. This was why the Cloud Adventurer Guild had been forced into a position where they didn't even have any strength to retaliate.
"Is the disparity in strength between the Cloud Adventurer Guild and the Mighty Adventurer Guild really that great?" Qing Shui asked as they walked.
"I'm lacking in strength and I'm a woman on top of that. Even so, grandfather still insisted that I take over the Cloud Adventurer Guild so this resulted in some complaints among the people. Grandfather is no longer here and the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild had been undermining us while we tried to maintain peace. To them now, the Cloud Adventurer Guild probably looks like it will collapse at a single blow." Yun Duan laughed as if she was mocking herself.
Passing through a corridor, they arrived at a manor. There were many women and children as well as some old men. Some were playing chess, while others were slowly practising sword and fist techniques
It was very peaceful here and there were rows of manors. The people who lived here were all the family of the Cloud Adventurer Guild's core members. Two rows of weeping willows lined both sides of the path.
He could see that the place was very clean with just a single glance. The air here was also very fresh. Many children were running around and playing and they would all greet Yun Duan when they passed her.
"Hello, Big Sister!"
"Is he your boyfriend?"
The questions that the children asked were also quite complicated. Qing Shui looked at them in amusement but didn't say anything. Yun Duan greeted them with a smile and occasionally reached out to pat their heads.
Qing Shui was sure that the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild would definitely use these people and her clan to force her to give in. A woman was indeed helpless when she was in this kind of situation.
This must be why many beautiful ladies have suffered an unlucky life since ancient times!
After not too long, they went into a courtyard on the left. Across the entrance of the courtyard was a small fake mountain that stood in front of a small pond. There was an arched bridge above the pond, whose flowing water was pleasant and melodious. Just listening could easily calm one down. There was a purple colored pavilion stood beside the tranquil pond.
On the other side was a small bamboo forest and there was a two-story small building not far from the forest. A winding corridor led to another building.
Just at this moment, a few people came out from that building. There was a handsome middle-aged man who appeared to have been through the vicissitudes of life, a beautiful madam that was aging gracefully and a few handsome young men who were about the age of 40. He could feel a wave of oppression surrounding all of them at a single glance.
"Father, Mother, Big Brother, Third Brother, Little Brother, you're all here." Yun Duan greeted them with a smile.
"Little Sister, you are supposed to marry Hu Yunlong, the leader of the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild the day after tomorrow! Why are you with another man?" The man who looked slightly older compared to the other young men reprimanded.
"Big Brother, this is my friend." A look of pain flashed across Yun Duan's eyes.
"Yun Yao, how could you speak like that to your sister?" The scholarly middle aged man immediately shouted.
"Duan'er, come introduce him to your mother. It is very rare for you to bring friends over." The woman held Yun Duan's hand and smiled benevolently. There was a pained look in her eyes. Yun Duan was her only daughter and she loved her dearly, much more so than her other few sons. But now, she had to suffer. As a mother, this feeling was intensely agonizing.
"Mother, this is Qing Shui. A very good friend of mine." Yun Duan introduced him with a smile.
"How do you do?" Qing Shui smiled and greeted them. When he heard how Yun Duan introduced him as a very good friend just now, he wasn't certain on what to feel.
"This fellow is not bad. Come, let's go in. Mealtime is ready. It's just a normal one so I hope you won't mind." The scholarly and handsome man invited Qing Shui warmly.
"Why would I mind? I shall intrude upon you all then." Qing Shui modestly followed the people of the Yun Clan into a big lounge.
"Lass, I've thought about this. You mustn't marry over there. Not when I am still alive." The man suddenly said when they were eating their meal.
If Qing Shui didn't previously know the situation, he definitely wouldn't understand what was going on.
"Father, if Little Sister doesn't marry Hu Yunlong, the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild will kill us all." Yun Yao said agitatedly.
"Bastard, are you saying that your Little Sister should marry that old geezer who is even older than me by 200 years old for the sake of staying alive?" The man slammed the chopsticks in his hands against the table.
Yun Yao didn't dare utter another single word.
"Yun Peng, calm down. Duan'er isn't marrying anyone. We can't let our daughter suffer even if it costs our lives." The beautiful madam hurriedly said.
"Father, Mother, your daughter is willing to do this. Don't be sad. Ensuring that our Adventurer Guild can survive and be passed down to the next generations are the most important things." Yun Duan assured with a smile.
"Little Sister, Third Brother has the same opinion as Father. This Adventurer Guild means nothing if you have to suffer like this." Yun Yang, who had been silent all this time, finally spoke up.
Qing Shui had already identified these few people from the introduction earlier. The scholarly handsome man was Yun Peng. The eldest son was Yun Yao. The third son who had just spoken was Yun Yang, the fourth son was Yun Chi, followed by Yun Duan's youngest brother, Yun Tong.
"That's right. Big Sister, I am against the idea of having you marry into there as well. We will really never be able to live in dignity for the rest of our life." Yun Tong bit down on his lip.
Just then, someone came in from outside. It was an elderly man. He looked around and hesitated for a moment before saying "The people from the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild are here."
The middle-aged man frowned. "What are they here for?"
"They said they are bringing Miss back." The elderly man also frowned as he responded.
"Yes and they are very aggressive. It's Hu Wenlong and his company."
"Hu Wenlong?" Yun Yao exclaimed in surprise.
Yun Duan's body quivered too after hearing it was Hu Wenlong. For them to suddenly come to bring her back, they probably knew that she had killed Hu Yuanqing.
Right now, she felt as if all her hopes had turned to dust. They already knew about it. Was this going to be the end for her, her clan and the Cloud Adventurer Guild?
She missed the time when her grandfather was still around. She missed her grandfather. When he was around, the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild didn't dare to take such actions against them.
Now that her grandfather wasn't around, the Cloud Adventurer Guild was as powerless as a newborn infant.
"Uncle Qiong, tell them that I'll be over right away." Yun Duan told the elderly man with a smile.
After the old man left, the room grew silent.
Hu Wenlong was Hu Yunlong's elder brother. He was the elder brother of the Mighty Tiger Adventurer Guild's leader and a Grand Elder. The position of Grand Elder could only be held by someone powerful. Without power, even an immediate clan member wasn't allowed to hold the position. It was evident that this person was very important.
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AST 834 –Yun Duan's Heart，Hu Wei Adventurer Guild
Yun Duan was stunned for a moment, "I will go check."
She spoke in a mild manner. She knew how powerful Hu Wenlong was since he was one of the top-rankers in Hu Wei Adventurer Guild. Even the head, Hu Yunlong could not defeat him. He could have easily gotten the position as the head but he was too obsessed about martial arts. He loved cultivating and was engrossed in it, so the position fell to Hu Yunlong.
Even though he disliked troublesome matters, he enjoyed fighting and was very protective of his own people. Everyone in Heavenly Beast City knew about Hu Wenlong's character and how he dealt with his affairs. There was an occasion when a talented member from the Zhou Clan in Heavenly Beast City maimed the son of the fifth brother, Hu Yanglong, of the Hu Clan. After that, Hu Wenlong directly eliminated the entire Zhou Clan.
The incident caused a ruckus in Heavenly Beast City but Hu Wei Adventurer Guild was extremely powerful so nobody dared to criticize them. Besides, the entire Zhou Clan had disappeared so no one wanted to stir up trouble for themselves.
After this incident, no one dared to offend the people from Hu Wei Adventurer Guild. The disciples of the core members became more and more arrogant and unreasonable because most people could only hold their grudges silently and not retaliate. As a result, the members from Hu Wei Adventurer Guild habitually oppressed others.
Many people wished to join Hu Wei Adventurer Guild as it was the ticket to staying alive since the Guild had great influence in Heavenly Beast City and even the nearby surrounding cities.
"Father will go with you, even though I do not have the ability to protect you," a handsome scholarly man sighed helplessly.
"Father, don't say that about yourself. I am happy that I have a father like you. I feel blessed," Yun Duan said happily.
Yun Duan knew that her father would definitely follow her so she did not attempt to dissuade him. She looked at Qing Shui, "Don't involve yourself in this mess. Tong'er, please show Qing Shui the way out."
"Elder sis, I want to accompany you." Yun Tong held out his fists as he knew that this matter was not as simple as it seemed.
"Let me bring her away with me." Yun Yao stood up and said. He knew that the situation facing them was tricky. His plan was to escape with her and either return after things died down or never return if something went wrong.
The scholarly man sighed and so did the others. Even his beautiful wife's eyes glistened with grief. Yun Duan hesitated for a moment and said, "Qing Shui, I kept thinking of you since the last time we parted. Even though I stabbed you, my heart hurt. Over these few years, I will think about you every now and then. I don't really understand what we have between us but I just want you to be well. We will always be friends."
Perhaps, only during the most fragile period of her life did she realized that she had so many regrets. Luckily for her, she could see Qing Shui during the final juncture of her life.
She knew that she would definitely die this time so she discard her reservations and told him her honest feelings.
She had kept her virginity until her encounter with Qing Shui and had never had any intimate contact with other men after that. Such a woman would not forget the man she had her first se*ual experience with but she never said that aloud.
She knew that if she didn't confess today, she might never have the chance to do so. At least he would know her feelings and see that she was not a wanton woman.
Qing Shui was stunned when he heard what she said. He could never have imagined that such an obstinate woman would actually show her vulnerability now.
"Qing Shui, you should leave with my brother. Don't even come back to Heavenly Beast City," Yun Duan said gently as she faced Qing Shui. She looked as if she was about to reach out to him but did not do so in the end.
"I already told you that I will settle matters with Hu Wei Adventurer Guild. Don't you remember that your grandfather said that you will have a fortunate life? Don't you know that Hu Wei Adventurer Guild will become stronger because of you? I am the man of your destiny so let me step in." Qing Shui smiled slightly.
"Qing Shui, I know that you want to help. Even though you are very powerful now, you can't defeat Hu Wei Adventurer Guild. So please listen to me and leave with my brother. Before it is too late." Yun Duan was a little emotional and spoke very quickly.
Qing Shui felt a warmth in his heart hearing her words. So, she was actually so gentle. Qing Shui liked her tender voice and it was even more heartfelt since it came from such a prideful woman. He was very happy and wanted to give her a stable life despite not being able to give her much affection.
Perhaps because she was too involved in the issue, Yun Duan did not believe for a moment that Qing Shui had the ability to go against Hu Wei Adventurer Guild. On the other hand, even though it was unbelievable to the others, they still saw it as a hope.
"Qing Shui, quick! Let me send you out. If we delay, it may be too late. Don't upset my younger sister." Yun Yao urged anxiously.
"You are unworthy of being her elder brother. I can make my own decision and you can leave. If you want to run away, you can go ahead, no one will stop you," Qing Shui said calmly.
"Who do you think you are? How dare you criticize me? " Yun Yao yelled at Qing Shui, angered by embarrassment after Qing Shui exposed him.
"If you weren't Yun Duan's elder brother, I wouldn't even waste my saliva on you. How can a man use his own sister as a bargaining chip. You are just a spineless coward so don't get angry. You don't deserve to be angry because you are not even an ant in my eyes." Qing Shui suddenly released his spiritual energy creating an oppressive aura.
Yun Yao fell to the ground due to the oppressive aura and his sweat poured from his entire body, he was rendered speechless.
Suddenly, sounds of explosion came from outside. They also heard screams and cries. Yun Duan ran outside, not knowing what had happened. Qing Shui looked at the members of the Yun Clan before running out after her.
The commotion came from the main hall of the Cloud Adventurer Guild. Apparently, the main hall had been destroyed. Hu Wei Adventurer Guild had really been offended. Qing Shui smiled at Yun Duan and the other members of the Yun family also followed them outside.
"Hu Wenlong, you are really too much," Before they reached the main hall, a loud old-sounding voice rang out.
"You old men, how foolish! Cloud Adventurer Guild will be destroyed because of this silly little girl. I'm giving you the easy way out. Get out of my way. If you stop me, I will annihilate your entire clan." a similarly old but much more overbearing voice replied.
"We are grateful to the old sir of this place. Even if I die here, I will not let you bring away our young mistress," Some old voices rang out.
"Stupid fools! If you join our Hu Wei Adventurer Guild, you will enjoy a life of riches and your future generations will have easier lives. Look there are intelligent people from the Yun Clan too. Why don't you ask them if they suffered after they joined my Hu Wei Adventurer Guild?" The oppressive old voice retorted.
"Third Brother, there are many opportunities in Hu Wei Adventurer Guild. Come on, we should…"
"Shut up! When you left Cloud Adventurer Guild, we disowned you. A person without any moral boundaries does not deserve to be called a human."
"People always seek to climb up higher and water will always flow downwards. I don't think I made the wrong decision. We all have our own pursuits. Why do you have to be so stubborn?"
" Sixth, if you left us in the past, I would not criticize you. But the Grand Ancestor is not around and Hu Wei Adventurer Guild is breathing down our backs, yet you choose to leave us without a hint of guilt at this critical point and even join our rivals, Hu Wei Adventurer Guild! Is this what a decent person does? If Hu Wei Adventurer Guild ends up like our Cloud Adventurer Guild, will you also switch sides and go against Hu Wei Adventurer Guild?" The man who spoke previously replied. A soft approach was always more effective than a aggressive reply.
Hu Wenlong frowned, "San Cai, you can stop creating disaccord. Since you don't accept our offer, don't blame us for being unpleasant. It's your own choice to seek death!"
"Bring it on. Even if we die, we won't make this easy for you!"
At that moment, Qing Shui was already nearby. He could see that the main hall was destroyed and there was rubble everywhere. At the same time, there were people lying on the ground;some of them were already dead. There were many people surrounding the site, other than the adventurers there were also people who just wanted to watch the commotion.
The most eye-catching person among them was an exceptionally tall and muscular elderly man. He was at least 8 chi and was distinctly taller than the rest of the people. He wore a purple battle armor and had a headful of white hair and chiselled features. Even though he was old, he looked more energetic and powerful than any other younger man.
There were about 20 people behind that old man, they were either middle-aged or as old as him. The aura of the man standing at the forefront made Qing Shui conclude that he was Hu Wenlong.
Their opponents were also a bunch of middle-aged and elderly men. There were more than 20 of them but none of them could match Hu Wenlong, so they were still at a disadvantage.
"Stop!" Yun Duan shouted to stop the old men from attacking.
"Third Grandfather, Fifth Grandfather…" Yun Duan shouted out. Her heart ached knowing the perseverance of these men, she was touched.
"Hai, what a pitiful child," the old men sighed.
"I am here. Why do you want to kill them?" Yun Duan yelled at Hu Wenlong, she was extremely furious.
"Why do I want to kill? Don't you know? I want to kill them and show them how they die!" the sturdy old man glared at Yun Duan and sent a powerful aura towards her.
Yun Duan was only a low grade Martial Saint so there was no way she could withstand it. Her body felt weak and her face turned pale but she forced herself to stand. But the aura that weighed like a mountain was like an ocean that could swallow up her tiny boat anytime.
Just then, Qing Shui stood in front of Yun Duan. It was as if her tiny boat had found a refuge and the waves around her became calm again. The figure in front of her wasn't huge but it was so sturdy that her heart calmed down.
Qing Shui stood smiling at Hu Wenlong, "Hu Wei Adventurer Guild is so arrogant! Aren't you afraid that someone will pull over your tiger tooth?"
"Who are you? How dare you speak to me in this manner? You've got some nerve!" the old man boomed loudly. His voice continued ringing in the ears of the surrounding people as the man increased the pressure on Qing Shui.
He wanted to embarrass Qing Shui. How dare that young chap challenge him?
However, he realized that his pressure was like a sinking rock in an ocean. The young man did not show any reaction. It was as if the young man felt nothing. Just when the old man was bewildered, Qing Shui's aura rushed towards him like a thunderstorm.
Like a ferocious tiger out of the mountains, the force was overwhelming!
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