Mount Silang and Gold Mine
It was dark so no one saw the foreign object that suddenly appeared on Mo Li’s face except Meng Qi who was close.
Those black lumps are——
Scales? How could there be scales on a human face?
Meng Qi was shocked and when he wanted to look carefully, those suspected scales had disappeared.
Mo Li lifted a stone and rescued a woman from under the ruins. She was covered in dust and the color of her dress could hardly be seen with her forehead still bleeding. She didn’t bother to wipe it and immediately turned around to dig another person.
However, the man was buried under a pile of rubble, motionless.
It was pitch black all around, and when the smoke and dust settled, there was a smell of blood.
Meng Qi stopped the woman from digging bricks with her bare hands as if in self-harm because the person lying under the rubble was already lifeless. There was an even worse scene next to it where the corpse had been smashed to pieces by heavy objects.
Mo Li’s vision was not affected by the night, so he could clearly see the limbs protruding from the rubble.
——covered with a thick layer of dust, it became a kind of stiff, gray-white. It didn’t look like a human body at all, but more like scattered stone carvings, as if it had never lived.
There were terrified screams in his ears.
It’s the pain of the wounded and the weeping of the living.
Mo Li took a step back in confusion, and this time, he stepped on something soft. It’s not rubble and gravel, but now no different from rubble and gravel. A “person” whom even a martial arts master with a keen sense would naturally not think of as a living person.
“Physician, where’s your luggage? Your medicine box is in there…”
Meng Qi’s voice seemed to come from a long distance away.
“…it fell into the crack.”
Mo Li regained his composure and then felt that except for the woman he rescued just now, the others were dead, and the nearest injured person was a hundred paces away.
He subconsciously walked in that direction.
While walking, he was thinking chaotically. His teacher’s previous guess was wrong.
The death of a dragon vein destroyed the entire Qiuling County.
On top of this ruin, huge spiritual energy floated, so even though his mind was in a state of confusion, Mo Li’s strength was also passively increasing. Negative emotions of anger and despair were contained in the spiritual energy, unreservedly instilling in Mo Li.
This was the spiritual energy belonging to the dragon vein of Mount Silang.
This dragon vein didn’t give birth to self-awareness.
——but it didn’t want to die, it struggled to live, but it failed in the end.
“What the hell happened?” Mo Li murmured.
Although Meng Qi was also startled by the strange phenomenon of his internal energy going up and down, it was common for him to be emotionally unstable, so he didn’t notice the anger and killing intent that accompanied the improvement of his skill.
Until he saw Mo Li take out a ningshen pill and ate it himself.
Meng Qi once again suspected that there was something wrong with his eyes. Was it really a ningshen pill? The smell was very similar, regardless of appearance since all pills looked similar.
Before he could finish thinking, he saw Mo Li hand him a second ningshen pill.
“I’m afraid you’ll have another attack. I took two pills with me. Now that I lost my bag, this is the last one.”
Although he couldn’t figure it out, it’s important to take the medicine first. Meng Qi felt that his mood was getting more and more anxious, and he didn’t want to get sick at this time. However, he couldn’t help but wonder, would the physician get sick like him? He lost his mind when he got sick, so would the physician’s disease cause strange changes on his face?
…there shouldn’t be such a strange disease! But if the physician’s condition was not a disease, what was it?
Meng Qi suddenly remembered the words Mo Li had said.
Meng Qi felt that the ningshen pills could not solve the problem. How could there really be daemons in this world? In the storybooks, those daemons who use spells and have all kinds of magic weapons will be subdued by monks and priests in the end.
Meng Qi helped Mo Li move a comatose person out of the ruins, saw Mo Li frown as the head injury could not be treated, and when the gradually dying person became silent, he felt that the speculation of him being a daemon was nonsense.
If there are magic spells, why not cast them to save everyone?
If there are magic weapons, why not use them?
Mo Li didn’t know what Meng Qi was thinking. He rescued one person after another, but very few people were actually slightly injured. He had never seen so many people die in front of his eyes, but he could do nothing. Even though he’s a disciple of a miracle physician and had the strength to compete for the title of the world’s number one master, he still couldn’t do anything.
At this time, those who survived by chance had recovered. Some of them ran in the direction of their homes, working hard to dig up the rubble to find their relatives, while some collapsed and sat on the ground crying.
“Get up, go!”
The scope of the fire was getting bigger, quickly spreading to their area.
The people dazedly raised their heads, their dull faces illuminated by the fire.
“Do you want to die?” Meng Qi loudly said.
Some staggered to their feet, while others wanted to run for their lives, but they couldn’t walk fast because of their injuries.
Mo Li grabbed a random person and asked, “Where is the well?”
The man numbly turned his head and pointed, but there were ruins all around and the original street could not be recognized at all.
“Don’t look. It’s all buried, and even if you can dig out the mouth of the well, the water in the well has flowed through the cracks in the ground!” Meng Qi stopped Mo Li and advised, “Take out those who can’t move first.”
The choking smoke drifted over, and everyone couldn’t care about anything else as they ran in twos and threes.
“Don’t go that way! Two streets away are full of fire, if you get caught, you’ll die!”
Using qinggong, Meng Qi stepped on a half-fallen tree and looked ahead.
Mo Li followed and took a look with a serious expression.
There were flames everywhere, covering half the county and the wind was strong tonight. In addition, Qiuling County was rich and prosperous, so the buildings were all wood. Except for bricks and tiles being reduced to rubble after the earthquake, the wood was still intact and now burning extremely fast.
“Go to the south gate, there’s a path over there!”
Mo Li closed his eyes and left the tree top.
He knew that many people were buried under the rubble and might be saved, but he didn’t have the ability to go into the flames and rescue everyone. He could only try his best to take away the living people here.
The crowd suffered such a drastic change, confusing them and they subconsciously ran in the direction pointed out by Meng Qi and Mo Li.
Some only cared about themselves while others tried to carry someone who couldn’t stand on their backs.
During this period, they saw an old man who refused to leave the ruins of a house and a woman who was crying bitterly while holding the dead body of her child.
As a physician, Mo Li couldn’t save many people at all.
Those who were smashed from the waist down, who vomited blood and were seriously injured… before they could die, the fire would burn them first. The painful faces and the voices begging others for help made the fleeing people burst into tears and couldn’t bear to look any longer.
“Physician, stop and let me do it.” Meng Qi felt something was wrong with Mo Li.
A person who didn’t want to kill had been forced to send away more than a dozen lives along the way.
“I’m fine.” Mo Li paused and then said, “I just never thought that such a day would come.”
Those brilliant medical skills were useless, and so were all their martial arts. The only thing they could do was rely on them to make others die without pain.
The fire burned more and more fiercely, and half the sky was illuminated.
What about rain? Can’t it rain?
Before the earthquake, there was a faint sound of thunder. Mo Li wanted to enter the state where his consciousness had left before, but couldn’t do it at all. The abundant spiritual energy was like a flood, spreading between heaven and earth. Mo Li tried to guide it and it immediately caused a frenzy.
Thunder came again, but still just thunder.
They had already left the south gate and into the wilderness outside with no grass visible in the ice and snow, so the fire shouldn’t come over.
People looked at the night sky hopefully, but there was no sign of rain, only thunder.
Winter thunder and summer snow were all delusions, delusions that symbolized their grievances.
“Doing evil ah!”
An old woman wailed, indistinctly speaking in a dialect, but Meng Qi didn’t understand so he looked at Mo Li.
“…she’s talking about the gold mine since it’s rumored that the Si family killed all the people who opened the mine to cover up the truth.”
“Rumored?” Meng Qi was keenly aware of the strangeness of it.
If it’s from other places, it’s natural to say “rumored” when talking about it. After all, there’s no evidence or truth. But this was Qiuling County, if so many people died, how could the people of Qiuling County not know at all?
Furthermore, what the Si family did was too much. They could indeed kill people, but didn’t those miners have families? Could it be that none of them could speak?
“It’s all the fault of the Si family!”
People sitting on the ground lost their homes, loved ones, and everything, so they were full of anger and just wanted to find a way to vent.
“Go to the Si family stronghold! Let them pay with their lives!”
The crowd was excited, and together with the cries of the wounded and the children, it was chaotic.
Mo Li just looked at them without any intention to stop them.
“They can’t go, the road to the mountain is broken.”
Mo Li knew that these people were overwhelmed by fear and anger. Unless they were knocked out, they couldn’t be persuaded, so he squatted to stop the bleeding of a child with an arm injury without lifting his head.
The child was held in the arms of a woman, who wept and remained silent.
Mo Li patted the child’s head and then searched for other injured people in the crowd.
There was no medicine, and the wounds could not be cleaned. Most of the people who escaped were empty-handed, and some didn’t even wear shoes, shivering from the cold.
There were people who lost their minds, and naturally, people who wanted to live. They found a hillside sheltered from the wind and ventured to find something to light a fire for warmth, but the burning county town in the distance made those who approached the fire tremble and weep amidst the cold.
Mo Li quickly attracted the attention of others.
“Are you a physician?”
The man who spoke was courageous and strong, and he was surrounded by a group of people who seemed to be very prestigious.
Mo Li didn’t answer but continued to pick gravel from the wound of a comatose person.
“I’m Zheng San, a bailiff of Qiuling County. That’s my brother, thank you for saving his life.”
Hearing the word bailiff, Mo Li raised his head and glanced at the man.
The person that Bailiff Zheng pointed to was lying not far from Meng Qi’s feet. The four or five people with broken legs over there were all brought out of the fire. Now that he’s free, Meng Qi conveniently set the bones for them.
Although he’s not a doctor, people in jianghu were familiar with external injuries, so dislocation and fractures were even more common.
“It’s hard to say whether he can be saved, there’s no medicine and no clean cloth to bandage the wound.”
Everyone first crawled out of the ruins and then escaped from the sea of fire, so they were all covered in ashes and their clothes were not clean.
“I have asked someone to find a vessel to boil the snow, and it could be used once the water boils. There’s an abandoned pottery kiln near here so we should still be able to find something usable.” Bailiff Zheng had a good way of doing things, arranging people one by one. Apart from the sound of crying, this crude camp became barely became alive.
“Wait until the fire is extinguished, and then go to the county town to see…if we can find anything useful.”
Bailiff Zheng’s tone was heavy, he knew this was a stopgap measure.
It’s still the twelfth lunar month, and too early for spring. Trapped in the wilderness, these people had no food, drink, or anything to keep out the cold, how were they going to survive?
Someone next to him suggested: “Bailiff Zheng, maybe we should all go to the mountains. The houses in the Si family stronghold are all built of stones. Maybe they haven’t collapsed, and the Si family has a lot of food, so it’s not a big problem to survive the winter.”
“Shut up, the Si family has private soldiers and weapons, do you want to die?”
As soon as Bailiff Zheng finished speaking, he saw the group of people who had rushed to the Si family stronghold come back.
Everyone was taken aback and hurriedly asked about the situation.
“There’s an extra cliff in front, we can’t get past it!”
“Unless we take a detour to the west and take another mountain road!”
It was dark and cold, and the anger of these people was blown away by the cold wind. They soon thought of the arrogance of the Si family in the past, but they didn’t even have a sickle or a hoe in their hands, so they had to come back for now.
Bailiff Zheng quickly sighed.
After he calmed down all these people, bailiff Zheng suddenly found that the physician had disappeared.
Mo Li got up immediately after treating the last wounded patient, leaving together with Meng Qi who had been waiting beside him for a long time. The direction was the depths of Mount Silang.
——a dragon vein could die, what if he died?
Mo Li realized that he had to find out about this matter. Only by knowing what happened in Mount Silang could such a tragic scene be prevented from happening in Zhushan County. Furthermore, if he wanted to find enough herbs, he had to go into the mountains. Qiuling County had been burned, where could he find a medicine shop?
Meng Qi didn’t ask where Mo Li was going, believing that as long as he followed Mo Li, all the mysteries could be solved.
Thick smoke drifted over from Qiuling County in bursts, and in the dark night, the fire in Qiuling County could be seen from a distance of more than ten miles.
After walking a certain distance, Meng Qi suddenly said, “Physician, someone is following us.”
Mo Li naturally noticed it as well, but the person following them didn’t seem to know martial arts. Their steps were deep and shallow, almost unable to keep up, so they could only stay far behind.
Mo Li originally thought that the person would give up and return to the camp, but after such a long walk, the person was still stumbling after them.
Helpless, Mo Li could only stop.
Meng Qi watched the figure gradually appear, his eyes full of scrutiny.
It was a woman. She wasn’t wearing much and her face was blue from the cold, but she didn’t tremble.
Suddenly seeing Meng Qi and Mo Li standing in front waiting for her, the woman subconsciously grabbed her dirty skirt with bloodstains from her fingertips. Then, as if she had made a decision, she gritted her teeth resolutely and approached.
“Do you want to know about the gold mine?”
These words were obviously beyond Mo Li’s expectations as he looked at the woman suspiciously.
“I…I am Qiu Hong, I know about the Si family gold mine.”
The name was a bit familiar. Meng Qi remembered it slowly. She seemed to be the girl from the brothel where the brothel keeper ran out and shouted at them before the earthquake happened.
Meng Qi had the idea to continue listening, how could this brothel girl know about the gold mine deep in the mountains?
“I was sold to Qiuling County, and a group of strong coolies came at the same time. We were originally refugees from Jiangzhou. We fled to Yongzhou due to the war and only wanted to find a place to make a living. I heard that there’s a large piece of wasteland in Pingzhou and that tenants are needed, so my brother and I came here, but didn’t expect…”
The woman choked up and said: “That happened five years ago. I was sold into a dark brothel, and it was Xiaoyu Building’s mama who rescued me, but my elder brother was nowhere to be found. In recent years, Qiuling County has become more and more prosperous, and the city is full of people who do business for the Si family shops. I eavesdropped on their conversation and vaguely knew that the Si family once had a very lucrative business. They all said they were selling elixirs, but how could it be possible to find rare elixirs in the mountains every three days? Back then, there were at least several hundred strong men who were cheated like my elder brother and dozens of women like me, so not many were old and weak. We just want to move our families and settle down in Pingzhou but since women could be sold into shady places, what about the strong men? There were hundreds of people, how could they disappear without a sound?”
Mo Li didn’t speak, he and Meng Qi thought of the gold mine at the same time.
No wonder the Si family had no scruples when killing people to silence them, those laborers were kidnapped.
“Three months ago, there was a strange case in Qiuling County, a man went to the county government to beat the drums and sue the Si family, but after being brought in, there was no news, and it was only later known that the Si family had a gold mine.” Qiu Hong’s eyes were red, and she gritted her teeth as she continued, “During that time, I happened to entertain the County Magistrate Wang Shiye. He drank too much and told others that the person who filed the complaint was a laborer imprisoned by the Si family to mine in the mountains, so the Si family bribed the county government to suppress this matter, but… it was a gold mine, and several officials in the county government took advantage to rob, raising the price again and again which annoyed the Si family. County officer Zhang was suddenly killed then and the matter could not be covered… because the county government once wanted to sell laborers to take advantage of the Si family. After searching for a long time, they found that the matter was related to the Si family, not some private business of human trafficking. After finishing this matter, they were silenced, so no evidence was found unless they venture into the mountains to find the location of the gold mine. But the Si family stronghold is located in Mount Silang, and the Si family had been running it for many years, so the county government had no way to intervene. After a stalemate for a long time, the incident leaked out, and the imperial court sent the Bandit Sweeping General to investigate the case.”
“You want to avenge your brother?”
Mo Li secretly gave the woman spiritual energy, and Qiu Hong’s complexion improved a little.
“If not, how can I be willing? I heard from Master Wang that the Si family had cheated at least a thousand refugees. They drove the strong men to dig mines and were extremely harsh on them, working them before dawn, beating, scolding, and frequently whipping them. Their food was worse than pigs and dogs, so few survived in a year. Thinking about it, my elder brother has already turned into dry bones.”
As she spoke, she sobbed.
In this world, it’s rare to be devoid of conscience.
Mo Li suppressed the anger in his heart, and slowly said, “You saying this, do you want us to take you to find the gold mine?”
Qiu Hong looked at Meng Qi who had never spoken, and wryly smiled, “I originally thought so. I saw that you are foreigners and know martial arts, looks extraordinary, and even when hearing that the mountain road is broken, you still walked in this direction… presumably not related to the gold mine but still with the Si family stronghold?”
“Aren’t you afraid that we might be from there?”
“People from Si family stronghold… will not save people in the ruins.”
Qiu Hong took out a small rogue box from her body. There was a piece of oiled paper in the lid, which unfolded into a crude map.
Just a few lines and dots.
“This is Qiuling County. We were brought here from this direction… I walked this road and was dazed halfway, so I always suspected that the location of the gold mine was near here, at least I know I entered the mountain from that location.”
Qiu Hong explained the map carefully and then handed it over to Mo Li.
“I…I can’t go into the mountain, I can’t keep up with you, and I don’t know how to get over that cliff. I just hope that if things come to fruition, you two will tell me that I can pay respects to the spirit of my deceased brother.”
After Qiu Hong finished speaking, she planned to kneel down, but her body seemed to be blocked by some invisible thing, so she couldn’t pray, let alone kneel.
She quickly raised her head, and suddenly found that the two had gone far away.
“What you said is not difficult, go back, it’s cold here.”
Even though they were so far away, the gentle voice clearly rang in her ears.
Just like what’s said in the scriptures, real masters in jianghu knew the art of sound transmission.
With tears all over her face, Qiu Hong staggered towards the crude camp.
——if it really is retribution, this catastrophe should just swallow the heart and dog lungs of those people, why hurt the innocent?
Standing on the edge of the cliff, Meng Qi looked from a distance and found that it was a huge crack extending from the mountain to Qiuling County, and the width gradually decreased.
“From this point of view, the source of the earthquake should be Mount Silang.”
Mo Li was still studying that map, comparing the map of Pingzhou in his mind with the scene he saw just now when his consciousness left his body. Suddenly, he found that one of the dots suspected to be a gold mine seemed to have collapsed particularly hard, and it was the intersection of several cracks.
“How is it?” Seeing Mo Li’s expression, Meng Qi knew that he had a guess.
Mo Li was about to speak when he suddenly felt the ground shaking again.
After an earthquake, there were often lingering quakes, but this time, the movement was not that big.
“Why do I feel like something is wrong ahead?” Meng Qi stretched out his hand and pointed in the direction that Mo Li was facing.
The overflowing spiritual energy was sinking, and the source of the gathering was over there, Meng Qi didn’t know the mystery inside, but instinctively felt that it was not good.
Mo Li didn’t have time to explain anything, and immediately said, “Let’s go!”
The two crossed the width of the cliff in a single leap.
Along the way, they saw remnants of scenery everywhere in the mountains, diverted streams, and fallen trees.
Fallen stones piled up everywhere, half the valley disappeared, and the cliffs above disappeared.
The two raised their internal strength and hurried on the road with all their might, soon reaching the depths of Mount Silang, where the spiritual energy became more and more intense.
“Wait, something is wrong on the ground.” Meng Qi stopped, looked towards the front of the mountain road, and murmured, “The snow is gone.”
“After the earthquake, the snow fell and was covered by rocks…”
In the midst of speaking, Mo Li suddenly stopped and looked down at his feet.
There’s a light green that popped up along the edge of the gravel.
“…it doesn’t seem so cold here?” Meng Qi asked uncertainly because martial arts masters don’t feel cold and heat, they don’t feel the temperature of the outside world so clearly.
Mo Li stood numbly for a while. He thought of what Master Li of Zhushan County said, during natural disasters and manmade disasters, dragon veins would appear in the world.
Then the river would be full of fish and the mountains full of elixirs.
Was that really the dragon vein? If the dragon veins died gradually, unlike the fierce struggle of the dragon vein in Mount Silang, what would happen after the dragon vein died?
Mo Li didn’t know as he saw green grass scattered on the ground in the distance.
After the spiritual energy sank, the dead mountain seemed to be revived.
Life and death were actually linked together.
A drop of water fell on Mo Li’s face, and he wiped it with his hand, only to find that it was raining.
The rain came as soon as he thought of that, and it fell heavily and in the blink of an eye, like a stream of water.
After walking for a while, Mo Li didn’t find any gold mines, but instead saw the ruins of Si family stronghold.
The whole stone building collapsed.
The front was originally an open space, covered with horses and other objects cut from sharp wood, but now it’s in a mess, and some had even been lifted to the distant hillside.
Several huge cracks extended from here.
Mo Li walked slowly on the hillside and then saw a strange tree stump.
The tree stump was low and unnoticed by all, and now spiritual energy flowed from this dead tree in a steady stream. Green shoots were drawn out from under the tree roots, growing at a speed visible to the naked eye.
Meng Qi stared at the stump with a dazed expression.
Because the new branches of this tree were very strange, not only growing horizontally but also looking like a long snake from a distance.
Mo Li blankly thought, no, it could also be a dragon.