Silver Overlord Chapter 48
The Martial Arts County Trial Examination for all the counties in the Pingxi Prefecture fell on the 21st of the sixth lunar month.
On this day, Yan Liqiang was still woken up by his powerful biological clock early in the morning. He habitually practiced a round of Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing, then he carefully washed up and changed into clean and fresh training robes. After a sumptuous breakfast, he bid his farewell to Yan Dechang and the rest before he went out, pulling along a rhinodrake steed from his home. Accompanied by a guard from the Lu Clan, they prepared to leave for the martial arts academy in Qinghe County to participate in the Martial Arts County Trial Examination.
Yan Dechang, Lu Wenbin, Zhou Tiezhu, Zhou Hongda and his wife, as well as Mother Wu and one of the guards from the Lu Clan, all went out of the courtyard to send off Yan Liqiang up until the main road outside.
"Father, Steward Lu, Mother Wu, big brothers and Sister-in-law Zhou, theres no need to see me out. The county seat isnt that far from here either. Such ceremony is unnecessary!" Yan Liqiang gave everyone a smile to stop them from accompanying him any further.
"Well then, I shall wish Young Master Yan in advance for his immediate success today, and for your name to be known across the Qinghe County!" Smiling, Lu Wenbin cupped his hands towards Yan Liqiang.
"Ah, then I shall thank Steward Lu for your auspicious words!"
On the other hand, Yan Dechang stared at Yan Liqiang with a troubled look, his expression a mix of worry and anticipation. "This is your first time participating in the Martial Arts County Trial Examination. It will be fine as long as you do your best this year. Theres no need to force yourself. Dont fight recklessly if the opponent is too strong. If it really isnt working out, then its fine to concede. Theres always next year!"
"Dont worry, father, I know. If it ends up being too much, I wont let myself be injured either!"
Yan Dechang felt slightly more relieved when he heard Yan Liqiangs words. He waved at Yan Liqiang. "Go then, go"
Yan Liqiang nodded, then cupped his hand to everyone in obeisance before he agilely mounted the rhinodrake steed. At a light shake of his reins, the steed made its way out of town.
King Cobra had been dead for six days, but Yan Liqiang couldnt tell this secret to anyone. Due to the incident at the Hong Clan, the Lu Clan was worried that King Cobra might look for trouble with the Yan Clan. Not only were Steward Lu and the guards ordered to continue staying at the Yan Residence, the Lu Clan sent two more guards the day after the Hong Clan incident. The two new guards had calm auras and bright eyes. Both of them carried their own bow bag and quiver, and one glance was all it took to know that they were experts in archery.
Yan Liqiang naturally couldnt say anything in regards to this. It wasnt like he could tell the Lu Clan not to worry unnecessarily because King Cobra had already kicked the bucket long ago and hed buried him.
These past few days, several groups of law enforcers and officers came to Liuhe Town, one after another. All of them had arrived to investigate the incident that occurred at the Hong Clan, while at the same time hunting for King Cobra.
The things that King Cobra had done at the Hong Residence that night were witnessed by a few dozen of the Hong Clans guards. With the testimonies of the witnesses, and Yan Liqiangs alibi that night, the evidence in the Hong Clans murder case was irrefutable. Naturally, King Cobra was considered to be the perpetrator of this case.
Over the next few days, everyone in Liuhe Town felt anxious over what had happened at the Hong Clan. As soon as night fell, everyone would tightly shut their front doors, and even the number of pedestrians at night had considerably reduced.
When Yan Liqiang passed by Liuhe Towns public square on his rhinodrake steed, he caught sight of Hong Tao.
In just a few short days, Yan Liqiang almost couldnt recognize him.
Hong Taos hair was disheveled, and he was still wearing the same outfit hed worn that night, except that it was now extremely filthy and torn in places. He stood barefoot in the public square right at the heart of the town. His gaze was unfocused, and he kept switching between crying, laughing, and muttering to himself. It was plain to see that hed already lost his mind.
"I am already the best Martial Warrior in the Pingxi Prefecture of the Great Han Empire. Im about to advance into becoming a Martial Master. My promotion and my ambitions will inevitably be achieved. The entire Liuhe Town belongs to us, the Hong Clan. The entire Qinghe County also belongs to us, the Hong Clan. No one shall take them away. You two there! Youre in my presence, why havent you dismounted from your horses and kowtowed yet?
Hong Tao was sitting on the floor in the public square, but when he saw Yan Liqiang and the Lu Clan guard drawing close on their rhinodrake steeds, he raised his head and exclaimed loudly as he pointed at Yan Liqiang.
Yan Liqiang shook his head and sighed inwardly.
On that night, he had already realized that something wasnt right with Hong Tao, so hed spared his life. He thought that if Hong Tao could make it through that night, then hed completely dash Hong Taos hopes of advancing as a Martial Warrior in the arena today. Yet Yan Liqiang didnt expect Hong Tao to be so mentally traumatized from witnessing that nights massacre that he would end up losing his mind.
Perhaps not everyone possessed the kind of mental fortitude that could quickly forget seeing their own family die in front of them, or at least, not without bearing any psychological effects.
Seeing Hong Tao in front of him, a slight twinge of discomfiture swept through Yan Liqiangs heart. But then, when he remembered all the conduct, deeds and evil schemes of the Hong Clan, that twinge in his heart flew unimaginably far away in the blink of an eye.
The Hong Clan had brought this upon themselves. He thought about it from another perspective. If he hadnt been reincarnated, and didnt cultivate the Muscle Tendon Changing and Marrow Cleansing, the Yan Clan would probably be Liuhe Towns decimated clan instead. And he probably wouldnt be any better than the current Hong Tao.
As the saying goes: One should not impose on others what he himself does not desire. Sometimes, the spit you cast out might just fly back to your own face. Perhaps the Hong Clan never expected the things they tried to impose on others would befall upon themselves in the end.
In just less than a week, Liuhe Towns once-influential Hong Clan had vanished in a puff of smoke.
The flames that spread through the Hong Residence had only burned one storeroom, as well as the kitchen next to it, before the fire was extinguished. The fire hadnt killed anyone, but all the key decision makers in the Hong Clan had died that night. The next day, after someone discovered Hong Ans corpse in the forest at the foot of Mount Hundred Zhang, several stewards, guards, and concubines of the Hong Clan fled with some of the Hong Clans wealth that very night.
After the death of the Hong Clans people, before the seventh day had passed and before they were even buried, a few of Hong Taos disappointing male cousins were already fighting over the Hong Clans properties. The fight within the clan was alarmingly unpleasant.
Hong Chengshous two daughtersand their respective husbands clansreturned with the excuse of attending the funeral, and then also involved themselves in the fight over the Hong Clans properties. Even now, no one was bothering to sort out the burned down buildings in the Hong Residence. Everyone was too busy moving the clans possessions outside. They fought against each other for the manor and the land, eventually bringing the dispute to the court. There would always be someone yelling and making a racket all day long at home. Half of the guards and servants had already left since long ago.
A Hong Clan like this was no longer something worth worrying about.
A few dozen brand-new wanted posters for King Cobra were tacked up on the bulletin board at the public square in town. This time, the portraits distributed by the Qinghe County Law Enforcement Office no longer looked like paintings done by Vincent Van Gogh with a calligraphy brush. Instead, they were much more detailed now. King Cobras triangular eyes and the mole on his left cheek were at least more prominent now.
Hong Ding was the Town Constable of Liuhe Town. He could be considered a bureaucrat of the most basic level. Hong Rong was also a member of the Law Enforcer Office in Qinghe County, and pretty much a lower ranking officer. These two had connections with the public, so naturally, their lives were a little more valuable. In addition to the many recent deaths in the Hong Clan, their influence had worsened, and Qinghe Countys entire Law Enforcement Office had been in turmoil over the past few days.
After taking one last glance at Hong Tao, Yan Liqiang once again renewed his conviction. He lightly shook his reins, and the rhinodrake steed started galloping to the towns exit.
Yan Liqiang wasnt even a li away from Liuhe Town when he came across a group of three people riding rhinodrake steeds towards the towns entrance. Among the three of them, two had fierce appearances, and did not appear very amiable. The only one who made eye contact with him was the slightly thinner person who seemed like a bookkeeper.
"Excuse me, young man. Is Liuhe Town up ahead?" As the two parties drew close, the one who looked like a bookkeeper suddenly slowed down. His eyes briefly scanned Yan Liqiang and the guard from Lu Clan, then plastered on a fake smile as he asked his question politely.
"Thats right. Liuhe Town is just up ahead!" Yan Liqiang nodded.
"Do you happen to know where I can find the Hong Residence?" One of the fierce-looking men interrupted impatiently.
"What business do you have with the Hong Clan?"
The man who seemed like a bookkeeper gave another insincere smile. "Oh, well, Hong An from the Hong Clan owes us some money. I heard that hes dead, so were looking for the Hong Clan to collect our debt"
"Hong Clan is a rich clan in Liuhe Town. Youll know just by asking anyone after you arrive in town"
The two parties passed each other on the road. After a distance of about a hundred meters, Yan Liqiang turned around to look at their silhouettes charging towards Liuhe Town on their rhinodrake steeds. They gave Yan Liqiang the impression of some vultures that had smelled death, flapping their wings as they flew towards their fallen prey.
The Hong Clan was left with only orphans and widows, and the people in charge were all dead. The Hong Clans reputation was already tarnished, and they had lost their supporters. If anyone were to suddenly show up to call in a debt, there was no way the dead could testify against it. Hence, they could just lie and snatch a portion of the rights to the Hong Clans properties.
Yan Liqiang had seen similar occurrences in his past life. This typical move wasnt any different than those he had seen in his previous life...
However, this no longer concerned him
Shortly after, he arrived at the Qinghe County seat on his rhinodrake steed. The wanted posters for King Cobra were also pasted on the entrance gate. The soldier who stood guard at the gate was scanning the faces of every person entering the county seat. Those with bamboo hats were asked to take it off. Those riding on carriages were asked to get out.
There was already a massive crowd forming outside of the martial arts academy...
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