General Liu: I was forced
The Si family discovered a gold mine in Mount Silang, not seven years ago, but seventy years ago.
At that time, the Chen Dynasty was in turmoil, chaos occurred one after another in various places and causing famine everywhere, so they were suppressed.
Although the ancestors of the Si family discovered the gold mine, to keep the secret, the Si family started planning to build a bunker in the mountains under the pretext of the chaos and bandits roaming around in the world.
The entrance to the first discovered gold mine was under the Si family stronghold.
The stone stronghold was built, and the guards were strict, the servants were not allowed to enter the inner castle and the gold mines were quietly mined in secret.
However, mining was not that simple and they were novices, so the tunnels were dug indiscriminately at first. They dug where they thought there was more gold, so the tunnels collapsed several times. The Si family just started to reinforce the tunnels and they didn’t dare to dig deep down hastily.
Because the root system of the trees was damaged by the underground digging, the forests near the Si family stronghold began to die in patches.
The Si family simply cut down all these trees, saying that the forest blocked the view and might be used by bandits.
The gold ore was dug, but the ore was still ore, after all, not gold. It took a lot of effort to refine it into gold. The Si family was so focused on mining the gold mines, so how could they have the energy to participate in world disputes? Therefore, in the eyes of outsiders, the Si family stronghold was indeed a defensive bunker. In the later stage, two or three county towns were created but their side was stuck and did not make progress.
To not attract attention and to keep it a secret, it was impossible for the miners to come out alive. When the world was in chaos, they have gold and goods and could buy prisoners of war and slaves. After the establishment of the Chu dynasty, the Si family lost jurisdiction of Qiuling County, and since they couldn’t buy people, the mining business could only be temporarily stopped.
This stop lasted for more than thirty years.
Officials in the Chu Dynasty were extremely strict, and even if the Si family was a local snake, it was difficult to manipulate things.
The Si family couldn’t stand out in the officialdom, so they looked like they were in decline. The more it declined, the less likely they were to squander gold and silver every few days. The Si family guarded the warehouse full of gold left by their ancestors, so they could only smash the big ones into smaller ones, and the small ones had to be counted. They dared not use them frequently, which is fine, there were more gold mines underground!
To prevent leaks, only the Master knew these things.
If they had an open-minded temperament, money was like dung, otherwise, they might have to suffer day and night.
There were very few people who didn’t value money, especially in the Si family, and Si Zhuan’s father dreamed of squandering all that gold.
In the end, he truly lucked out. Not long after he took over the Si family, the Qi Dynasty was established in place of Chu, and the world was once again in chaos.
Wars, severe droughts, locust plagues…there were refugees everywhere. Just say it’s for reclaiming wasteland, and even coaxing and deceiving can attract a group.
At first, he didn’t dare make big moves, and there were few abductees. He also had to personally trade with those human traffickers, and compare the mining records with the refined gold left by the ancestors of the Si family, so he stumbled to get started.
The Si family’s Master’s eyes were high but his hands were low, and he wasn’t secretive enough, but his son was very capable.
Si Zhuan found out that his family had suddenly become rich, and even outsiders were talking about it, so he was very suspicious. After several investigations, he discovered the secret of the gold mine, looked at his father, and was furious.
To cover up the sudden increase in wealth of the Si family, Si Zhuan thought hard and decided to use elixirs to make a fuss.
Speaking of elixirs, the Si family had indeed dug up a lot.
Strangely enough, there was no lush vegetation near the mine veins, but Mount Silang was an exception.
From the perspective of outsiders, the vegetation of Mount Silang was neither sparse nor dense, just like other mountains——if they knew that there was a gold mine here, even such a huge gold mine, they probably wouldn’t think so.
There were often elixirs in the deep mountains, and they were all good things that were more than a hundred years old.
Strangely, every time the Si family dug a new tunnel, they would surely find a secretly growing elixir nearby. Although the number was not large, it’s enough for temporary coping.
The Si family sold the elixirs and bribed the dignitaries with the elixirs.
This was not a long-term solution, so Si Zhuan proposed to do business, and it must be a huge business with caravans coming and going. Not only would the wealth have a legitimate source, the outsiders in Qiuling County would also not be too conspicuous.
The Si family Master was very reluctant, but Si Zhuan spoke clearly and logically. All he cared about was the gold mines and squandering the gold and silver. Did doing business mean that he could do it as soon as he said it, and even do it on such a grand scale? If business was so easy to do, why didn’t everyone go into business?
As a result, when the Si family Master came to his senses, Qiuling County had already changed its appearance. The members of the Si family were all convinced of the young master, and the young master’s prestige exceeded that of the Master.
The Si family Master was very dissatisfied, so he could only hold onto the gold mine, deliberately not letting his son interfere.
However, Si Zhuan was looking at not just the position of the Si family Master, but of the world.
“…the old Master is in charge of the gold mine, and the young master is only concerned with military training and the business of the Si family.” Si Zhuan’s subordinates tried their best to defend their young master, shifting the responsibility to the old Master who died in the stone stronghold without a trace.
It’s not that they’re loyal to Si Zhuan, but in their current situation, surviving meant whitewashing Si Zhuan clean.
If Si Zhuan was clean, then his retainers who obeyed his orders would be less guilty.
They were so clever that they couldn’t even fool Mo Li, let alone Meng Qi.
Meng Qi was sitting by the tree, in front of him was a group of Si Zhuan’s subordinates who were so in pain that they wanted to roll all over the ground. They were not as ignorant as the people in Qinghu Town. They clearly knew this kind of severe pain was because there was a tyrannical energy rushing through their meridians. As long as they could withstand it, there was no real harm.
“Avoid the important and dwell on the trivial*.” Meng Qi raised his foot and kicked the speaker back to Mo Li, asking with a sneer, “Not mentioning a single word that should be said, where did your young master’s martial arts come from, and what about you?”
*(keep silent about major changes while admitting minor ones)
“…we, we were recruited by the Si family with gold. We don’t know the young master’s martial arts.”
Everyone averted their eyes and faltered.
Si Zhuan was lying in the mud. Mo Li had slashed his wrist, then tapped Si Zhuan’s acupuncture points before throwing him over there.
There was neither meat digging nor torture, but Si Zhuan’s appearance became more and more strange. His breathing became heavy, the veins on his forehead were bulging, and his whole body seemed about to roar, but he couldn’t move, and couldn’t make a sound.
General Liu’s personal soldiers watched with horror.
There’s no helping it, the fields here were open and the only shelter from the wind was under the tree.
Although Liu Dan wanted to immediately leave, because of the plot of the Si family, he had no choice but to stay. Even if he was dazed and couldn’t hear clearly, there were still his soldiers around.
“Is this…the legendary Gu?”
Si Zhuan’s intention to struggle was too obvious, but his eyes were empty as if he couldn’t see anything, and his expression was ferocious, like a ghost.
The wound on his wrist was not deep, and every time it was just healed, Mo Li would condense his energy into a blade and make another shallow cut on the wound.
Liu Dan and the others who survived the bloody battle on the battlefield knew how much a person needs to bleed to death. Si Zhuan had shed a lot of blood, but he was still far away from death. If it’s just physical weakness, how could he be afraid?
“I don’t raise Gu.” Mo Li suddenly said.
General Liu’s soldiers covered their mouths and retreated.
“Tsk, Physician, your move is scary.” Meng Qi has good eyesight as he slowly said from behind, “Seal the acupoints, neither hearing nor seeing, also can’t move, he can only feel his blood slowly flowing out, getting closer and closer to death.”
“Birth, old age, sickness, and death are commonplace for human beings. Except for those who are strong-willed, most people are afraid of death just because they haven’t figured out what the process of death entails. But the Physician is the one who sees it the most.”
Mo Li looked at Si Zhuan’s wound which continued to bleed. Every cut he made was accurate, and the blood that flowed out was drop by drop, neither too much nor too little.
“…he wants to kill people to vent his anger, so I will let him feel what ‘death’ is.”
Mo Li wiped away the bloodstains on the knife and slowly said, “Gradually heading towards death, yet helpless, this feeling of anger and despair is really the most suitable.”
Meng Qi was a little dazed when he heard those words but soon came back to his senses. He subconsciously looked at the tree he was holding on to with his right hand.
The branches of this tree grew very strangely, but after the leaves were born, the dense canopy blocked the sight of others, so from a distance, it looked like a tree with a relatively large crown that should not flourish in winter.
If someone stopped and carefully looked, they would find that they could not recognize the tree at all.
It’s not like a camphor tree or a locust tree, having some likeness to both, but it didn’t lean on either side.
The physician said before that it’s not safe for the tree to be placed here.
This description was very strange, why did he want to ensure the safety of a tree? What’s even more bizarre was that he agreed without even thinking about it, and still think this tree was very important.
Meng Qi recalled what this Si family told him. All the trees in front of the stone stronghold had been cut down.
Hollowed out the mountain and cutting down the trees…
Now the tree grew in front of their eyes, not from the ground, but from a half stump, is this considered a new life? In an instant, it became so lush it was unreal!
There was mud all around, but no grass on the ground.
It seemed that after the tree had grown, the momentum of those crazy sprouts had also been curbed.
Meng Qi collected himself and reminded Mo Li: “We have other things to do.”
The tree was only half dug.
Mo Li simply cut Si Zhuan’s other hand.
Meng Qi turned his head, looked at the members of the Si family with a half smile, and said: “I’m not as good as the Physician, but I’ve been around the jianghu for many years, so I can still pick a tendon and hamstring or pierce the scapula and so on!”
“Still not talking? The Si family is finished, and your young master will not leave Mount Silang alive, what’s the point of keeping a secret for the Si family? You are not the main culprit, not to mention the jianghu, the court can’t control us. Even according to imperial law, accomplices like you will be sentenced to exile for three thousand miles at most.”
Meng Qi looked sarcastic and said condescendingly, “Think about it, compared to death, what will happen to you if you lose your martial arts and are taken away by General Liu to add merit? Those who know current affairs are heroes!”
Everyone in the Si family looked at each other, and someone hesitantly said, “Can the young master really not hear our voices?”
“Sealing the acupoint is temporary!” Meng Qi tilted his head and said, “You are so careful, it seems that it’s not as simple as being loyal to Si Zhuan.”
The man gritted his teeth and said, “Si Zhuan is a closed disciple secretly accepted by Patriarch Qingwu.”
Meng Qi and Mo Li fell into deep thought at the same time.
They thought about it, but still——
“I’ve never heard of him, who is this person?”
Everyone in the Si family was dumbfounded, are these two really martial arts masters?
“Moneybag Liu, do you know?” Meng Qi turned around and asked.
Liu Dan pointed at himself and was speechless for a while, why did he become a money bag? Besides, he shouldn’t be asked about things like martial arts masters, right?
However, thinking about it, if the State Teacher asked a question, it was best to answer it. After all, he couldn’t be offended.
“Yes, Zhao Zangfeng, also known as Patriarch Qingwu, is a top master in the world.” General Liu also casually explained why he knew about this man, “I heard that he has a disciple who works for the rebel who claims to be the Heavenly King. Because of their extremely high martial arts, those who assassinated the Heavenly King failed one after another.”
“…how many apprentices does he have? Why do they all want to rebel?”
Meng Qi instinctively felt that this was not an ordinary martial arts master. Rather than saying that the disciple wanted to rebel, it would be better to say that he deliberately picked those ambitious and capable people to be his disciples.
The members of the Si family were very embarrassed and said, “We are relying on the Si family, and we dare not offend Patriarch Qingwu.”
“If the Si family succeeds, you will be extremely wealthy. If the Si family collapses, you can clap your hands and turn around then leave.” Meng Qi exposed their thoughts, and everyone endured the pain that popped up from time to time in their meridians, not daring to say anything.
“Where are the hard laborers abducted by the Si family? Where are they buried?”
“I really don’t know, the Si family has dug too many tunnels, and every time a tunnel is dug, it is refilled. Those bones…”
Mo Li blankly asked, “How many people died?”
The members of the Si family hesitated and said, “No one knows what happened seventy years ago, but in the last five years…more than two thousand people.”
“Huh?” Mo Li coldly said, “Your young master seemed to have said just now that the entire mountain has been hollowed out, think again. Two thousand people?”
“My memory is wrong, it’s four thousand!”
The subordinates of the Si family only dared to nod their heads, not daring to make a sound.
Mo Li took a deep breath and said nothing.
The corpses buried in the soil might make the soil fertile, but where too many people have died, there would be no grass growing. This was the case in many ancient battlefields.
There were many bones, layer upon layer, and he couldn’t help Qiu Hong find the bones that belonged to her brother.
These people in troubled times tried hard to live and came to cultivate wasteland with hope, but they did not expect to fall into purgatory. Since then, they disappeared into the deep mountains without a sound.
The dragon vein of Mount Silang was likely transformed into a tree, standing in the mountain at the shallowest edge of the gold mine where spiritual energy meets and grows.
Before it became conscious, the gold mine was discovered, the Si family stronghold was built, the soil was destroyed, and the tree mixed in the forest was affected and cut down together.
However, the tree has roots, so it’s not considered completely dead, and the body of the dragon vein has not been severely damaged, just transformed…probably no longer possible to change back.
The following days not only did not get better for the dragon vein, but worse.
The aura leaked out, the mountain was destroyed, and countless people who died in vain were buried in the place that was originally full of aura.
The dragon vein survived the initial period, and there’s been a respite for decades during the Chu Dynasty. Unexpectedly, the world was in chaos again and the Si family completely destroyed it in the last seven years.
The same dragon vein, also born in the place where auras meet, but——
Mo Li closed his eyes and sharply asked, “Where is the last batch? Where is it?”
“The Si family hid these things very tightly. We all walked from the ground so we only know the approximate range, now that Mount Silang has become like this, we don’t know the exact location…”
After Mo Li finished speaking, he suddenly saw Meng Qi who was supporting the tree, and realized that they had to dig the tree out first.
“Draw a map!” Meng Qi ordered cooperatively.
Everyone in the Si family drew the map tremblingly, then watched as Meng Qi and Mo Li carefully dug up the tree, and then one carried Si Zhuan and the other carried the tree before leaving.
“…Your Excellency, please stay!”
The restrictions on them have not been lifted yet!
Only then did Meng Qi seem to think of something, and squeezed out a ferocious smile, “Don’t worry, the ban will be lifted automatically after five hours. But before that, to ensure the safety of their general, the soldiers of the Bandit Sweeping General will cut off your hands, feet, or necks first!”
“What? You said——”
“What did I say? People from jianghu can’t be controlled by the court, and they can’t be exiled for up to three thousand miles. I’m not a court official, so my words don’t count!”
Meng Qi waved to General Liu and the others whose expressions were changing, “Have you seen us in Mount Silang? Do you know who I am?”
Liu Dan: “…”
Did he dare say that he knows? Did he dare say he’d seen him?
When he met the former State Teacher, not only did the State Teacher not kill him, but he also helped them. General Liu felt that even if he jumped into the yellow river, he wouldn’t be able to clean himself up. He absolutely must not leak this matter, otherwise, he’d not only lose his family but also arouse suspicion. It’s a small matter to be dismissed and sent to prison, so he decisively told the soldiers: “These people can’t stay, kill them all.”