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Book 6 Chapter 23 - Old Alleys, Old Trees, Old Wells

Immortal Devil Transformation
     East Port Town.

    Second Grandpa Zhang walked out from a medicine spread.

    He still had an old injury in his lungs, he never recovered fully from it. A few days ago, he controlled the boat to help Lin Xi chase after the criminal, using soul force in the process, so his old injuries instead worsened a bit.

    He breathed heavily, full of spittle.

    There was blood in the spittle.

    The past Breath River’s Dragon King was now a sick cat, difficult for him to even get some rest.

    While breathing, his chest still felt as if there was a huge rock weighing down on it, the inside as if there were countless needles stabbing him. This was especially when he lied down, making his breathing even more difficult. Even if he did fall asleep, he would often be woken up again from shortness of breath.

    However today, he walked on East Port Town’s limestone path, feeling exceptionally at ease.

    A river character like him obviously had no way of knowing that a dispute begun in the Prefectural Magistrate manor because of Lin Xi’s rewards, but he understood that Lin Xi will definitely be stepping on clear clouds, taking a huge step in Yunqin’s royal court.

    Even if some of the merit regarding this river dam was deliberately covered up by some officials, Thriving Prosperity and Fortune Memory definitely wouldn’t agree to it.

    Because of his body’s issues, he remained in East Port Town to recuperate, but Fourth Grandpa Zhu and the others went to Swallow Descent Town. They were all men who grew up on this river, after investigating the river’s changes, they were sure that Swallow Descent Town’s river will become shallows where sand and stone will easily accumulate again. Once great ships wanted to pass by, they might need to rely on barge haulers to pull tow-ropes again.

    This not only greatly slowed down the speed at which trading companies moved across the waters, it would also greatly increase the basic costs of these trading companies, affecting all of Yunqin’s tung oil business from this.

    Breath River’s waters were too calm, the rainfall during the past few years not too plentiful either, to the extent where there wasn’t much flood control information on coastal areas. Meanwhile, the dam that Trade Sector official constructed was too sturdy, to the extent where it gave all of the later Trade Sector officials a feeling of security. However, right now, the river dam collapsed, some important consequences immediately revealing themselves.

    When his mood was free from worry, even his breathing became much more relaxed.

    Second Grandpa Zhang slowly walked into a narrow alley.

    This alley was called Scholar Alley, inside of it existed a school. There were originally quite a few scholars who lived in this alley.

    Right now, more and more businessmen appeared in East Port Town, many of the scholars either changing into becoming businessmen or store helpers, that was why even though the school still existed in the alley, the students residing here decreased considerably, this alley also becoming much quieter. Quite a bit of weeds grew in the gaps between the paved roads on the ground.

    After making a turn, the alley ahead seemed to have reached the end. However, Second Grandpa Zhang grew up in East Port Town, understanding every street extremely clearly even if his eyes were shut, knowing that after another turn, he would enter an even greater alley, and then he could enter the alley he resided in.

    He knew that the narrow alley looked like there was no road left from the distance, but that wasn’t actually the case, yet his footsteps still stopped.

    Then, he slowly turned around.

    He coughed lightly, the expression on his face still peaceful, but a wave of indescribable coldness spread throughout his entire body.

    Only Lin Xi, Fourth Grandpa Zhu and a few others knew that apart from his water skills, his sense of smell was also naturally much sharper than a normal person’s. That was why he could follow that hint of bloodiness in the water to chase after the enemy.

    Meanwhile now, he caught a whiff of a smell that was familiar, a smell that left an extremely deep impression in his memory.

    That was why right now, in this East Port Town that had just entered evening, even though it was just as peaceful as normal, he knew that he already reached the most dangerous moment of his entire life.

    He looked towards the opening of the alley behind him, seeing a person walk out.

    …

    The one who appeared in his line of sight was the fat merchant who always had a smile on his face.

    Right now, this fat merchant had already changed into a crimson silk shirt, in his hands was a red and green short staff.

    This short staff looked like a simple old vine, but it was sparkling green, as if sculpted from fine jade, the red looking like lines of runes.

    The green staff had red runes winding about it, just like blazing flames swirling in the wind.

    “I guess there is no hurry either.”

    The fat merchant also stopped. He looked at Second Grandpa Zhang at the other end of the alley, still smiling as he said, “I’m not in a rush to kill, you shouldn’t be in a rush to die either. How about we have a chat?”

    Second Grandpa Zhang coughed lightly. He looked at the short staff in the fat merchant’s hand, saying, “You are the one who tried to kill me on the river back then?”

    “How did you know?” The fat merchant stared blankly for a bit, but immediately afterwards, he nodded with a smile, seriously reaching his hand to point at his nose. “Yes, that was me.”

    “How did you know it was me? Also, how did you know I was secretly following you?” After the fat merchant replied, he became calm and content again, looking towards Second Grandpa Zhang out of curiosity, repeating this question.

    Second Grandpa Zhang became a bit quiet, and then said, “I could smell a scent from your body… like barbecued meat.”

    “This is how it should be, everyone should just properly talk things out. Only then will killing and being killed become a bit more interesting.” The fat merchant smiled in satisfaction, saying, “Since your nose is this sharp, there is no harm in telling you that this barbecued meat smell is because I opened up a barbecue shop… the taste of my barbecue really is excellent.”

    Second Grandpa Zhang looked straight at this fat merchant, asking, “Why do you wish to kill me? Is there a grudge between the two of us?”

    “There are many types of killing, out of a grudge is just one type. Many years ago, for the sake of money, I’ve killed quite a few people, helping others settle many problems.” The fat merchant wasn’t impatient either, wiping his hands on his sleeves out of habit. “Last time, the reason why I took action against you was to return a favor for another. Since the favor could be considered repaid as long as I took action, thinking a bit more tense back then, since you ran away, I didn’t bother coming after you again. As for this time, it is because I have a brother who I grew up with. If it wasn’t for you controlling that boat for Lin Xi, he wouldn’t have died.”

    “You are related to the military!”

    Second Grandpa Zhang’s brows immediately jumped, his mouth coughing intensely. “Then the reason why you took action last time was also because of Xu Chengfeng and the others?”

    “It was likely because they felt like if they got rid of you, it would be easier to do things on this river.” The fat merchant said with a smile. “You should also understand that someone like you who isn’t in the royal court is of little value in their eyes.”

    Second Grandpa Zhang became a bit quiet again. “The fire in the Warden Office was also started by you?”

    “You really are smart. The main one I am dealing with is naturally Lin Xi. Only, it is a pity, that flame was started for nothing. However, if you are killed, I reckon he wouldn’t be that happy either.” The fat merchant was smiling to the point where his eyes were narrowed into slits. “Alright, I don’t really like having blood splash onto me, so for the sake of your death being a bit prettier, why don’t you end it yourself?”

    Second Grandpa Zhang gave him a look, shaking his head. “Since I could escape last time, I won’t let things go as you wish this time either.”

    “Oh?”

    The fat merchant revealed a look of curiosity. He wasn’t in that much of a hurry either, sizing up Second Grandpa Zhang and saying, “I don’t think I am mistaken… your lungs were seriously injured by me, basically half a lung rotten. Unless you make a huge breakthrough again in your cultivation, developing a type of tyrannical vitality, powerfully stimulating your blood, qi, and soul force, there is no way out, only then can you get rid of this terrible condition. However, even with this, there will still be some flaws. Otherwise, no matter how high the quality of medicinal herbs you have, there is simply no way of settling your condition. Your cultivation hasn’t made any tremendous breakthroughs, during these years, your constitution only got worse, your soul force can likely only help you run for less than a hundred meters, right? Moreover, with your cultivation and strength, I should be able to catch up within thirty steps.”

    After a slight pause, the fat merchant felt more and more satisfied towards his own deduction, smiling while shaking his head, “You have regressed during these years, while I have improved. Moreover, previously, I dealt with you empty-handedly, while today, I have a weapon prepared, you shouldn’t even be able to handle the first exchange. I’ve also waited until you went this deep inside the town before taking action, you don’t have time to run to the river side either, so how are you going to escape?”

    “Run just like this.”

    Second Grandpa Zhang said while frowning.

    After saying this, his entire figure smashed into the wall behind him.

    With a hong noise, a human figure immediately appeared on this side of the wall.

    The inside of the wall was an empty room full of dust.

    Second Grandpa Zhang coughed intensely, but his body moved with the fastest speed in this entire life, immediately rushing past, once again smashing through the wall.

    Behind the wall was another alley.

    At the end of this alley was an old locust tree, an older lady was currently hanging clothes below it.

    When she heard the great crashing noise, Second Granda Zhang already smashed through another wall, entering.

    The red and green short staff wielding fat merchant immediately became a bit stunned when Second Grandpa Zhang smashed through the first wall.

    It wasn’t because he couldn't react in time, the bewilderment rather coming from his confusion. With the other party’s condition, after smashing through with soul force, according to normal reasoning, he shouldn’t even be able to move more than thirty steps before he would be caught. However, for better or worse, the other party was an ambitious and ruthless figure on the river, there was no way his brain suddenly stopped working before he smashed through the wall.

    Could it be that there was a formidable cultivator behind those walls?

    He immediately rejected this thought that suddenly sprung into his head.

    If there really was this type of secluded cultivator that existed, then there was no need for Second Grandpa Zhang to rush there. As long as the loud noise sounded here, it would be enough to draw the other party’s attention.

    That was why after a momentary stunned expression, he immediately began to move powerfully.

    His body looked extremely heavy, yet when he moved, it was extremely light and graceful, as if a ball was bouncing on the ground.

    Under the old locust tree, the older woman had just reacted, seeing that it was a person who smashed through the wall. Her expression had just changed, a cry of alarm had just left her mouth when she saw a fat merchant who already jumped off a roof, leaping towards another roof like a ball.

    The fat merchant’s body was lithe and graceful, but the power beneath his feet was extremely great. Wherever his feet stepped, the limestone and rooftop tiles would instantly shatter.

    He once again leapt past another alley.

    The dust and debris covered Second Grandpa Zhang appeared before his eyes again. At the center of this alley was a spacious area, in that area was a six-cornered stone bordered large well.

    Under his shocked eyes, Second Grandpa Zhang took a deep breath, endured the coughing, and then jumped, leaping into the well.

    Splash!

    Water splashed high into the air.

    The fat merchant dropped next to the well, the smile that always hung from his face already somewhat disappearing. He looked at the surging well water, unable to understand.

    He stared at it for five or six halts of time, and then his face twitched a few times. With a pa noise, his palm smashed apart the well railing, throwing the broken large stones into the well one after the next.

    He suddenly turned around, arriving at the entrance of a household in this alley.

    This household had two large stone lions at the entrance.

    He picked up the two large stone lions that were several hundred jin in weight, forcely smashing them into the well. Under the continuous strikes of his palms, these two stone lions were both completely shattered, sent into the well, completely sealing up this old well.

    Then, like a ball, he bounced back up again. After rising and falling several times, he disappeared into the streets and alleys.