Chapter 130: Melee
Translated by Gumihou
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One could tell from military advisor Top Dog’s ability that the overall physical strength of the Slaughter Dog Gang was not low. However, their brain power was a little lacking. The main reason why Strong Zhang and his farmer friends were initiated in the first place was due to their strong bodies and not so clever minds. The reason for having this kind of people in your gang was simple, the stupid are less likely to betray you once caught, especially if you indoctrinate them properly.
With this level of brain power, further shaken by the devastating setbacks on what should have been a walk in the park mission, really caused him to doubt his own mind. As for the gang members, well, how could they have known that ‘Anyone who pressed their Tanzhong point will feel pain’? As the saying goes ‘The expert is the one in doubt’ and then there’s ‘It’s darkest under the lamp’. In other words, sometimes the most obvious trap gets the most victims. Moreover, the atmosphere of fear and doubt created by Su Nuan Nuan earlier was more than enough to scramble their common sense.
Thus, with the Slaughter Dog gang members pretty much frightened out of their wits, Liu Er Niu stomp his feet furiously and howled, “Sly! Cunning! Those crafty, stinky monks are too cunning! If you have the guts come and fight us! How dare you poison us, too shameless! Oh, oh, oh! I don’t accept this, I refuse to accept this no matter what!”
Hoho, listen to that, a little retaliation and already you’re talking about death?
Chen Jing, too, looked gloomy. He said, “They say that Buddhist monks are merciful and benevolent, to think that you would sink so low as to poison people. Are you not afraid of being cast out by Buddha himself?”
Upon Buddha’s name, we’ve actually pulled off the bluff.
Heart hammering with emotion, but taking care not to show it on his face, this young monk meant to prove his worth at being chosen by Su Nuan Nuan for this critical task. He smiled benignly at Chen Jing, “Though Buddhism requires us to be merciful and benevolent, we are also granted the power to punish the wicked. Dear benefactors, you too should understand your own hearts best. The monks of this temple has an obligation to protect the An Ping household from being poisoned by yourself. Therefore this humble one’s conscience is clear, and is not afraid of punishment from Buddha.”
Chen Jing’s expression darkened. When he turned to look at his brothers-at-arms, he saw that their faces were deathly white, their eyes lifeless. It was already a great blow to be told that their food had been poisoned. However, to have even lost their moral high ground was a bigger blow and they did not even have the face to kneel and beg for forgiveness. Thus, they could only stand there awkwardly like a group of fools.
Up to this point, Chen Jing had always tried to establish an air of righteousness within the Slaughter Dog Gang. It helped that the deeds they had done were in line with this thought. Though it was not easy to claim righteousness in every instant, he managed to pass off some innocent blood as collateral damage towards a greater good. This unorthodox method caused his gang to rise up quickly with strong members and high moral sense. The lack of doubt and a feeling of righteousness was the reason members remained loyal to the group.
Perhaps success and self-satisfaction had made him complacent, he’d thought that the reason why his group had stagnant within the Jianghu ladder of success was because of a lack of opportunity. He had always imagined that one day, their group would be given an important mission, pull it off with flying success, and gain recognition from all six southern provinces, perhaps even from the great Martial Arts sector. And from then on, the Slaughter Dogs would grow from strength to strength.
Instead, what had begun as a simple mission had inevitably shaken out the weak foundation of their gang, showing the true face of the Slaughter Dogs. A group of sloppily put together men, a pile of mud so useless that it can’t even stick to the wall. This earth shattering knowledge depressed Chen Jing so much that he could only smile bitterly at the monk and said, “Let me guess, you have the antidote, right?”
“But, of course.”
The monk smiled gently. But a sense of unease was rising within him. It turned out that his instincts were on point. Chen Jing suddenly turned to his comrades and roared, “Brothers! Are you thinking that you will live just because you kneel before them for the antidote?”
For a moment, no one answer. In fact, everyone was actually thinking this when Liu Er Niu, a slightly more experienced bandit understood Chen Jing’s meaning. He howled, “How could it be? We’re the bad guys. We’re here to kidnap the An Ping house’ people, and that’s a death penalty crime. Even if they give us the antidote, what kind of ending will we get once they captured us?”
The Slaughter Dog members were stunned, but then the creaky wheels in their mind began to turn: That’s right, ah. Even if they give us the antidote, would we actually leave this place alive? Those people are full of tricks, still daring to try and make us hand ourselves in for the slaughter? Once captured, we’ll be tortured for information. Rather than being tortured to death, let’s die as free men and take a few of them down with us.
In an instant, the Slaughter Dog gang, which had been wilting like frost stricken eggplants immediately stood up straight. Liu Er Niu howled, “Boss, give us your commands. We have followed you all these years, ate the best meats, drank best wines and enjoyed the favours of beautiful mistresses enough to last us a lifetime. Ever since we joined the Slaughter Dogs, our lives are no longer our own. Heh heh! We’re not afraid to die, let’s be brothers again 20 years later.”
Chen Jing himself was inspired by the rousing enthusiasm of his comrades. He sneered at the monk. With an audible [Shing] he withdrew his sword and yelled, “Brothers, let’s destroy them. Let’s choke the antidote out of them. Attack!”
The Slaughter Dogs howled as they rushed forward. The people who had been watching the show interestedly became alarmed. Su Nuan Nuan’s lips pulled to a bitter smile as she shook her head, “These idiots. To think that they still retain some brains in their head. How hateful, ah. To think our last trick didn’t work, well, we can only blame them for being too stupid. If they have a few more braincells to rub together, they would have tried to tease the antidote out of us and just run away from this place. Well, I say we’re finished, we’ve just smashed our feet with a rock we’ve picked up.”
“Madam, please stop mumbling to yourself, what should we do now?” Concubine Jing urged. Su Nuan Nuan spread out her hands helplessly and said, “What is there to do? We’ve already reached this point, we can only depend on heaven’s will.”
She was still speaking when all the martial monks rushed out. The change in them was just as rapid as the one that came over the bandits just now, a fierce glint flashed in their eyes as they rushed forward to help their comrade.
The Slaughter Dog Gang had helped many people into power, and their martial strength was not low. There were only a dozen over martial monks in the temple, and the fight soon descended into a huge melee. Even though Su Nuan Nuan did not understand martial arts or fighting formation, she could see that their side was not doing well. She drew in a deep breath, hefted a large rolling pin and screamed, “We’re all going to die if this goes on. Let’s back the masters up and bash these good for nothings to pieces. Don’t wait for death, fight to live!”
Without wasting another word, she dropped Zhao Cai to the floor and charged into the melee. Concubine Jing felt like she had lost consciousness for a moment. It was as though she had blinked, and then lost the best time to hold Su Nuan Nuan back. Face deathly pale, she turned desperately to the servants and shouted, “What are you waiting for? Of anything happens to the first madam, this will be the last day you breath. The lord heir will never let you off. What’s more, would any of you have the the face to look first madam in the eye?”
Her words seemed to shake them out their nightmare. Everyone left within the temple were all An Ping slaves and servants. People that were most likely to snatch any advantage in to climb the social ladder. They were also the type to look out for number one. However, with Su Nuan Nuan as an example, and Concubine Jing’s sudden unexpected commanding tone, these cowardly, selfish servants were all triggered into action the moment they saw Su Nuan Nuan rushing into trouble. After all, if any of them stayed back because of cowardice, they will definitely be executed by the lord heir later.
The dozens over female servants, maids, boy servants and senior male servants shook themselves, grabbed whatever weapon within reach, rolling pins, bits of sturdy sticks and charged after their reckless mistress. Naturally, there were a few cowardly ones who dared not come out. Those tucked themselves into hidden corners and shivered uncontrollably, thinking that if everyone died, they could still throw themselves at the feet of the bandits and begged for their lives. Even if they ended up suffering a hard life, surely that’s still better than dying, right?
Following the so-called ‘Beat the master during the confusion’ concept, the servants all ran out helter skelter, their screams high pitched with fear as they swung their weapons about randomly. They smash their sticks and rolling pins at anyone that got into range, whether friend or foe.
As for the Slaughter Dog Gang, they had no problem slaughtering monks as they were killers already psyched up for the job. But, when the female servants and young maids rushed out with their tear stained faces, even these hardened bandits could not bring themselves to attack them. As for the older female servants, how could anyone be evil enough to attack women old enough to remind them of their old mothers, ah. For a moment, the fierce Slaughter Dog Gang’s resolved was shaken up by these group of women and half grown children.
Su Nuan Nuan had also rushed out with the resolved to die. However, when she spotted the enemy’s resolve faltering, how could she let go of this chance to stick a spoke into their wheel? Though she had tried to learn kungfu from Duan Tingxuan this past half a year, her horse stance was not quite as stable as it should be. However, she had still managed to learn a few fancy moves, surely she had to be better than the cat at least, right?
Luckily, the moves Duan Tingxuan taught her was just perfect for this kind of melee fight. Moreover, the purpose of those bandits were to capture her alive, and therefore none dared to use any killing moves, allowing her the chance to attack. Like a fierce tigress, her rolling pin swung left, right and bashed about until the nearby Slaughter Dog’s noses were broken and their faces black and blue with bruises.
Zhao Cai backed Su Nuan Nuan up as her personal little swordscat, his claws flashing like miniature knives. Who knows whether this cat really recognised his own name, or was just taking his cue from Nuan Nuan and took advantage of the enemy’s momentary weakness. Perhaps he was angry at not receiving payment after handing over the bread and was now taking out his anger in this melee to seek revenge upon these ‘Eat and run’ customers. His claw attacks were particularly vicious, no less fierce than Su Nuan Nuan’s rolling pin. Any Slaughter Dog attacked by him were left with a scarred face, some nearly lose their eyeballs, all were left rolling on the ground screaming in pain. This created even more confusion on the bandit’s side.
Naturally, while the bandits were reluctant to raise their hand against Su Nuan Nuan, they had no such compunction against Zhao Cai. However, that cat was just too slick and fast for them. As the bandits tripped over their own feet trying to catch the cat, Zhao Cai merely swam about among the fighters, dealing claw attacks about as casually as you pleased.
Chen Jing looked at the people fighting around him, and knew that things can’t go on like this. Nearly the entirety of the Slaughter Dog Gang turned up for this mission, but they still can’t take down a group of women and monks? Losing one’s reputation was, but a small issue, if things went on any longer, they might lose even their lives at this rate. In the end, he was a leader responsible for a number of men’s lives. In a desperate moment, he finally identified the problem and shouted, “Brothers! We only need those two women. Slaughter the rest!”
The Slaughter Dog Gang was shocked. Though they were fierce bandits, until now their victims were mainly corrupt officials, Little Napoleon government officials, and rich dandies making the lives of the common people miserable. They had never laid a hand against a bunch of unarmed and defenceless women, and were very disturbed by the order, ah.
Oh, but wait. These women aren’t defenceless or unarmed at all. They were strong enough to force a group of fierce men with swords into a corner. This was a life or death situation after all, either they die or those women die. Do they really want to throw away their lives for that ambiguous thing called conscience? Are they bandits or monks?
[Gumihou: This is so exciting!]
 Darkest under the lamp – See picture
There’s even a song by the same name 燈下黑
Another of my favourite is ‘A pig that doesn’t even yield grease also Chinese for incredibly useless, since pigs are generally useless for anything aside from being walking organic garbage disposals and being food. What use is a thin pig after all? Smashed your own feet with a rock you picked up – When your plan backfired on you
Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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