Tome of Troubled Times - C.64: A Tiger Falls on the Plains

Tome of Troubled Times

C.64: A Tiger Falls on the Plains

It felt great to shove it in their faces. However, they would eventually also reach the shore. For all Zhao Changhe knew, even those riders riding along the shore from before could be killers.

Zhao Changhe did not dare to stay where he was. He grabbed Cui Yuanyang’s hand and they ran for their lives.

They rushed down the road, saw a plantation, and fled straight down the footpath between the paddy fields. After a short while, they slipped away into a small forest. They were more hurried than rabbits.

There were no more mountains to hide in. It was a good thing that there were at least plenty of forests. There was no way for people to pursue them on horseback, and even if they were chased by enemies on foot, they could make use of the terrain around them and rest for a few moments.

It was already evening when they boarded the ship. After that intense battle and crossing the river, the sky was actually not yet completely dark. It seemed that not much time had passed.

However, within this brief time, Zhao Changhe had received the worst injuries of his life. He had been kicked hard in the stomach and poisoned underwater, and even now, his chest was still bleeding. There was a huge bloodstain on his ragged clothes, and his face was pale.

Long story short, Zhao Changhe was in an extremely bad state.

But it’s good we’ve crossed the river. Have we passed the most troublesome obstacle?

Zhao Changhe sat against a tree, exhausted and gasping for breath. “Fucking hell. This is so unscientific. How did the poison on the weapon not get washed away in the water? Was that guy not afraid he’d drink some poisoned water?”

Cui Yuanyang shook her head. She was not familiar with these methods of the jianghu, nor was she in the mood to get to the bottom of things like Zhao Changhe. Seeing Zhao Changhe bleeding so much with nothing to bandage himself with, she kept feeling like he would lose too much blood. Once that happened, their enemies would not even need to kill him.

She stamped her feet. “You... Even though you’re messed up, you’re still thinking about these weird things... Anyway, with your injuries, you should speak less. Speaking can affect your wounds, and you actually went and shouted such a loud farewell...”

Zhao Changhe coughed dryly. “I can refrain from doing anything but showing off. Showing off is a must. You wouldn’t get it.”

Cui Yuanyang: “...”

“Hey, do you think with my bow shot just now, I can give myself a name like Zilong?[1] I’m even surnamed Zhao, y’know?”

“What are you talking about!? Rest properly!” Cui Yuanyang angrily stamped her feet.

Zhao Changhe merely laughed in response.

There was no way she could get him to listen, and seeing him in his current state really made her heart ache.

Just thinking about how he had cut off his flesh and poured wine on his wound just now—even a random bystander would have felt pain looking at Zhao Changhe, yet his expression didn’t even change. Cui Yuanyang really felt that even the seniors from her clan on the Rankings of Heaven, Earth, and Man could not compare to Zhao Changhe in terms of manliness and valiance; they were simply not on the same level.

Is this the difference between bandits and aristocrats? No... In this whole world, only Zhao Changhe is like this.

Zhao Changhe put himself in such a sorry state so that he could protect and send her back home... What could Cui Yuanyang do for him?

Cui Yuanyang bit her lower lip and thought for a while before entering the forest behind them.

Zhao Changhe did not concern himself much with what she was doing. While he was joking, he was, in reality, also circulating his qi to suppress the poison.

The medicine Cui Yuanyang had given him a few minutes back only stopped the spread of the poison; it did nothing to remove it. The good thing about internal arts, on the other hand, was that they were able to help one drive out poison. If actors on TV could do it, there was no reason why he himself could not. After all, Xia Longyuan’s internal art was truly a miraculous one!

Actually, after careful examination, Zhao Changhe knew that this poison was not anything that special. At the very least, it was no Deadly Nightshade. This poison was mainly used to corrode or soften flesh. Its ability to spread through his body was mediocre and, as a result, it was comparatively easy to manage. The moment he began circulating his qi according to his internal art, he could visibly see his blood pushing out the poison in the direction of his wound, where it leaked out.

In fact, he could even feel that some of the poison was dissolved by his internal art and no longer had any effect on him.

From this, he could ascertain another unique trait of Xia Longyuan’s internal art: it was highly effective against poisons. This would definitely be a boon to Zhao Changhe as he traveled the jianghu in the future.

He felt like this internal art was more and more similar to the Nine Yang Manual[2] It was unfortunate that he could not use this internal art as his main cultivation method because of his age—Zhang Wuji[3] began building up his foundation for the Nine Yang Manual as a young child in the Wudang Sect.

Whatever. Now’s not the time to think about these things.

The poison was driven out of his body without a hitch, but Zhao Changhe could feel himself getting more and more exhausted.

Zhao Changhe was not able to bravely withstand such pain as if he did not feel it because he was a great man. It had something to do with the special characteristics of the Vicious Blood Art. Everyone knew that in an intoxicated state, one could overlook a great deal of things. One of the special properties of the Vicious Blood Art was that it allowed people to enter such a state.

However, at the same time, after one exited this state, they would be extremely tired, and Zhao Changhe was experiencing this exact aftereffect right now.

Not only was he exhausted, but the pain from the wound he had endured like it was nothing just moments before was now starting to creep back. The kick that he had brushed away as minor also made his stomach faintly throb with pain.

In addition, he hadn’t taken even a moment to dry himself after getting out of the water. The evening was chilly, and the cold was seeping into his bones.

All sorts of symptoms were arising at the same time.

The worst thing was that Zhao Changhe had relied heavily on the Vicious Blood Art; due to this heavy use, the pain he experienced when cultivating struck him, and it struck him hard.

When he was in a good state, he could endure this pain, but what about now, when he was weak?

It was as if he had been hit by every debuff in the game, all at once.

When Cui Yuanyang returned from the woods, she saw that the god among men that Zhao Changhe was had slid to the ground and was now curled up into a fetal position, groaning.

“Big Brother Zhao!” Cui Yuanyang rushed to support him. “What’s wrong? I—I still have medicine...”

She lowered her head and stared into Zhao Changhe’s eyes. This only served to frighten her even more—they were blood-red and filled with a wild malevolence. It was like he was about to pounce on her and rip her to shreds.

Zhao Changhe, who was experiencing the full negative effects of the Vicious Blood art, for the first time, was about to lose control of the vicious qi that chipped away at his mind. To put it in another way, subconsciously, he no longer wanted to suppress it. If I’m no longer awake, will the pain go away?

“You...” He held on to his final sliver of willpower and spoke with great difficulty, in a low voice. “Get away from me. The further, the better... I’m...really dangerous to be around right now...”

“No!” Cui Yuanyang replied urgently. “You’re in such a sorry state and you’re still bleeding from your wounds! How can I just leave you here!?”

“The problem isn’t leaving me here... It’s that my martial art might make me lose my mind. I can’t control it... Once that happens, I won’t be myself anymore... Get away from me... Qui—”

Cui Yuanyang suddenly struck a few of Zhao Changhe’s acupoints with her finger and silenced him before he could say the rest.

“You really think I’m stupid!?” Cui Yuanyang muttered. “Now you’re the one who’s got his brain fried. Didn’t you think that I could just paralyze you for a bit?”

Zhao Changhe: “...”

Cui Yuanyang bit her lower lip and began taking off Zhao Changhe’s tattered clothes.

Zhao Changhe: “...?”

He was almost frightened out of his muddied state. W-w-w-what the hell are you doing!

This white rabbit arduously peeled off his clothes, with a face as red as a fresh tomato, then pulled out a piece of crimson silk fabric.

Looking at the mandarin ducks embroidered on it, Zhao Changhe was dumbstruck.

Isn’t this your dudou?

Cui Yuanyang threw him a glance—Zhao Changhe did not know if her eyes harbored anger or resentment in them. She lowered her head bashfully and scattered some medicinal powder on his wound before wrapping her dudou like a bandage around him.

This was the only thing they could use as a bandage right now.

“Does it still hurt?” Cui Yuanyang arranged his clothes and lightly rubbed his forehead, which was filled with sweat from him enduring the pain. She said gently, “You don’t need to do everything by yourself... I’m not an idiot that only knows how to drag down others.”

Zhao Changhe’s mouth twitched.

You’re right. In any case, you knew how to row a boat... You’re also pretty cooperative. The moment I told you to throw me a rope, you didn’t ask stupid questions. Fine, you have more potential than I thought.

“Now it’s my turn to look after you.” Cui Yuanyang picked out another medicine and stuffed it in his mouth. “I have no idea how to deal with the side effects of the Vicious Blood Art... This is medicine to restore your vitality and replenish your blood and qi. After you take it and rest for a while, you should feel a lot better...”

As she said this, she scratched her head. “I’m not sure myself. It’s just a guess. Could it be that you might be too weak to take all these strong medicines?”

Zhao Changhe: “...”

I can feel the powerful yang element in the medicine... Actually, you can unblock my Ya acupoint.[4] Seriously now. Well, whatever. I’ll try and try and unblock it with my internal art.

The sky was already completely black and the forest was a whole patch of darkness. Cui Yuanyang was feeling a little dispirited; the pillar she relied on most in her heart had collapsed. In the darkness of night, amidst the strong winds, she saw danger in every direction she looked. However, she knew that there were people searching for them all around and did not dare to light a fire.

Forget it. I’ll find some water for Big Brother Zhao to drink first.

As Cui Yuanyang turned and left, she tripped.


She fell face first into the dirt. Her rabbit ear hat fell forward as she laid on the ground with her limbs spread out, crying. Her will to take care of others with all her strength crumbled in a moment.

We’re both at the third layer of the Profound Gate, but I’m so useless.

I shouldn’t have let him walk this thorny path. It would have been so much better if we went to see the mist at Jiangnan... Oh well...

From elsewhere, she could faintly hear people talking. “You guys look over there! Zhao Changhe is injured, he can’t have run that far!”

The search party was getting close!

Cui Yuanyang suddenly sprung up and rushed over to Zhao Changhe. She attempted to pick him up and run, but he was heavier than she thought. She was unable to get him on her back no matter how she tried.

From her back, Zhao Changhe sighed. “Fuck. The damn acupoint finally opened. Damn girl, stop trying to be cute. Hurry up and unblock my acupoints. It’s time to battle!”

1. Zhao Zilong is the courtesy name of Zhao Yun, a famous general from the Three Kingdoms. He has the same surname as Zhao Changhe ☜

2. This is a martial arts manual in Jin Yong’s Condor Heroes trilogy. ☜

3. The protagonist of the last book of the trilogy. ☜

4. Acupoint located on the back of the head, just above the neck. ☜

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