The old man trembled in rage. He waved his walking stick and charged angrily toward Zhou Hailong. The old man was probably an ex-soldier and although his blood and qi had deteriorated, he still displayed the grace of a soldier through his movements...
"Damn it, old man... you must be courting death," someone who looked like a guard grabbed the old man's walking stick and with a shake of his fingers, that guard released a powerful inner yuan; the powerful force sent the walking stick flying.
The old man's figure shook, and the crook of his thumb immediately split open. He fell backwards with a loud clatter and crashed into the stairs behind him, hitting his head so hard that blood gushed out from the wound...
"Bastard, you're a bastard..." the old man was so livid that his entire body shook and tears rolled down his cheeks.
He had taken pity on Zhou Hailong in the past and acknowledged him as his godson, then begged the Marquis to allow him to stay at his residence. Over the past few years, the Marquis had taken note of Zhou Hailong's intellect and sharp business acumen, thus he had given him the responsibility of managing several businesses. When he saw how well Zhou Hailong was performing, he treated Zhou Hailong as well as if he were his own son. However, when the Marquis fell from grace, no one had expected Zhou Hailong to be the first to betray him. To make matters worse, after Zhou Hailong's initial betrayal, he had even ganged up with several noble clans who had grievances with the Marquis and plotted with them to snatch several assets from the Marquis. His behavior was truly despicable.
"I must have been blind to have led a traitor into the house. I have brought ruin upon His Grace," the old man said, overwhelmed with sorrow. "I'm too ashamed to face His Grace..." he said. Then, he turned to slam his head against the stone plaque on the door, intending to kill himself to pay for his crime.
Zhou Hailong and the others did not even move when they saw this scene. Rather, they laughed maniacally.
"This old thing deserves to die."
"He should have died a long time ago."
"Haha, he's just a bag of old bones..."
However, as his head crashed against the stone plaque, the old man realized that the surface was extremely soft, as though he had crashed into a pile of cotton. He froze in surprise and when he looked up, he saw that a man had appeared from nowhere to stop him.
Obviously, Ye Qingyu had stepped in at the crucial moment.
"You..." the old man paused for a moment before he flared up in anger again. "What's wrong? Why can't you let me die? Do you want to continue torturing me? Or do you want me to beg for mercy? Dream on, come at me with all that you've got. I wouldn't be a soldier trained under His Grace if I utter a single cry for mercy!"
The old man had clearly mistaken Ye Qingyu to be a part of Zhou Hailong's gang.
Ye Qingyu smiled.
The old man had a fiery temper.
"Sir, please calm down. Why should you commit suicide when you'll only make your enemies rejoice and your loved ones suffer?" Ye Qingyu said with a smile as he helped the old man up. He placed a hand on that old man's wrist and his yuan qi continuously flowed into the old man's body like waves of warm currents. He then pointed at Zhou Hailong and the others who stood in front of the door and said, "When you encounter evil dogs like them, you should be breaking their backs and bones..."
The old man froze in shock and realized that he had wrongly accused this man.
As he started to speak, he suddenly sensed that his yuan qi was surging abundantly within his body and the chronic hidden ailments that had plagued him since the previous battle against the Invaders were instantly healed. His blood and qi had skyrocketed and he felt as though time had turned back, as he regained his youthful vigor.
"You..." he said in surprise.
He knew that this man was definitely a highly-skilled expert.
"Who are you?" the old man asked in astonishment.
The wound on his head had also healed and vanished without a trace.
"I'm just someone who has long admired Marquis Lin Xuan and was planning to call on him today when I noticed this commotion. It's such a shame," Ye Qingyu said, having his own reasons for choosing to hide his identity.
The old man looked at Ye Qingyu skeptically.
He knew that His Grace's old acquaintances had all abandoned him during this period and barely anyone came to call on His Grace these days. Even if His Grace went to call on others, he would be rejected.
Last night, His Grace had left in good spirits to attend a banquet but had returned earlier than expected. After he returned, he kept sighing in dismay as though he had run into some difficulties, so why would someone be calling on him today out of the blue?
Finally, someone asked the question that everyone else was dying to ask.
"Who are you? How dare you meddle in our affairs?" Zhou Hailong said impatiently and with a wave of his hand, all his men surrounded Ye Qingyu, their gazes menacing.
Ye Qingyu said to the old man with a laugh, "Sir, would you like to personally teach these bastards a lesson?"
The old man immediately understood what Ye Qingyu meant.
That's right. The yuan qi within his body was now as abundant as an ocean and extremely powerful, while he had regained his peak physical condition, so even if he died today in battle, as long as he could personally teach that bastard Zhou Hailong a lesson, he would die without regrets.
The old man's figure moved and hurtled toward the group.
Zhou Hailong was astonished and instinctively took a step backward as he said, "Stop this old dog..."
However, when his men made to attack the old man, they discovered to their horror and dismay that they could not move their bodies at all, as though they were pinned to the spot.
The old man's fist landed on Zhou Hailong's nose.
There was a loud crack and blood gushed freely from his nose. "Ah... old dog, how dare you hit me. You..." Zhou Hailong immediately put his hands over his face. He felt as though his nose bridge had been smashed into powder and the pain was so intense that tears flowed down his cheeks before he knew it.
"This punch was for the Marquis, to teach a lesson to a shameless person like you," the old man said through gritted teeth.
He felt great after landing his punch and his entire body revelled in this feeling. Then, he sent out another punch, moving as fast as lightning.
The next punch landed on Zhou Hailong's chin.
The punch was so powerful that it threw Zhou Hailong's head upward. His jaw bone shattered, countless teeth smashed into pieces and he released a spurt of bloody mist the moment he opened his mouth.
"Ah... old thing, you..." Zhou Hailong yelled angrily.
"This punch was for the young mistress. You bastard, how dare you attempt to insult her modesty. You're worse than a beast," the old man yelled as angrily as a lion.
"Old man, you must be courting death... you.... you'll definitely pay the price for this," Zhou Hailong yelled like an injured animal. In fact, he was rather strong himself but he found that for some reason, he was unable to summon up any power when he wanted to counterattack. He could not even defend himself against that old man.
The old man responded with another punch.
This punch landed on Zhou Hailong's stomach and immediately knocked the wind out of him. Zhou Hailong clutched his stomach as he spat out saliva. He doubled over, bending like a shrimp, and couldn't even breathe as he then laid sprawled on the ground like a dead dog.
"This punch was in return for the one you gave me earlier."
The old man gradually calmed down after he sent out three punches.
He did not continue to attack, instead deciding to retreat into the Marquis' residence.
Zhou Hailong was merely a pawn and was working under the instigation and support of several noblemen. If he killed Zhou Hailong, these noblemen would definitely make use of this incident to cause even more trouble for the Marquis, so he had to act with the greater good in mind, rather than indulging in a momentary gratification.
"Many thanks," the old man said after he returned to the main gates and bowed at Ye Qingyu.
He knew that the reason why he managed to land all three punches was because Ye Qingyu had been helping him in secret.
"It was nothing," Ye Qingyu said with a smile.
The others realized that they were finally able to move their bodies.
They quickly rushed over and helped Zhou Hailong up.
"Who are you? Do you dare make your name known? This matter is not over," Zhou Hailong yelled angrily as he tried to bear with the pain. "You don't even know who you're dealing with today, nor what you've meddled with today. You'll definitely live to regret this."
"Haha," Ye Qingyu's eyes flashed and the two guards who had been stealthily approaching him with their swords drawn were immediately pinned to the spot as if they were frozen. "Don't worry. I won't be going anywhere. Please go ahead and summon whoever is backing you. Let's see if they're able to stop me."
"Sure, remember your words," Zhou Hailong said through gritted teeth. "Stay here if you dare. Hehe, how dare you stand up for Marquis Tingtao, I guess you must be sick of living... Don't go anywhere!"
Then, he gave his men a look and commanded several guards to keep an eye on the residence while he fled with several men to call for reinforcements.
Ye Qingyu remained standing in front of the gates, just as he said.
He had just been appointed to his position and hadn't bared his fangs yet, so today was as good an opportunity as any to do so. Otherwise, everyone would assume that his appointment was merely a nominal title. Since the Royal City was under a military regime, the Military Judge's scope would extend to most of the Royal City.
"Sigh. My Lord, I guess you should leave as soon as possible," the old man nudged Ye Qingyu and said kindly. "Zhou Hailong has the support of the noblemen in the Royal City, so you might be in trouble later."
"No worries. I meant to call on Marquis Lin Xuan today, so how can I leave without even seeing him?" Ye Qingyu said with a reassuring smile.
"I can tell from the noble aura you exude that you're also a person of importance. However, the person backing Zhou Hailong is extremely influential, so you should leave. I'm sure that His Grace will appreciate your kindness, but you mustn't let yourself be dragged into this," the old man continued to warn him in concern.
He tried to persuade Ye Qingyu to leave and didn't want him to get dragged into this matter because he knew how terrible the Marquis' current predicament was. He didn't want an innocent man to get hurt.
"Sir, please rest assured. I know what I'm doing," Ye Qingyu said with a smile as he shook his head.
Good men tended to show their kindness in similar ways while evil people could show varying degrees of evil.
He rather admired this old man for sticking by the Marquis through thick and thin.
When the old man saw that Ye Qingyu could not be moved, he had no choice but to quickly report this matter to the Marquis.
Ye Qingyu continued to wait outside the door.
Soon, the door to the Marquis' residence opened.
Marquis Tingtao strode out from the main gates dressed in a teal-coloured lightweight armor and was surprised to see that his visitor was none other than Ye Qingyu. He froze for a moment before he saluted Ye Qingyu and said, "Lord Zhang LLongcheng, what are you..."
"Haha, I was intending to call on you when I happened to chance upon the commotion at your gate," Ye Qingyu said with a smile. Then, he handed the snacks that he bought to the Marquis and said, "I've brought a small gift since this is my first time visiting. Please accept this gesture of sincerity."
Lin Xuan could only accept the gift.
He didn't know why the newly appointed Military Judge had made a personal visit and what his motive was for doing so. He had asked his daughter about the incident at the Wanyi Bazaar after he returned from the banquet the night before, and only realized after speaking to his daughter that Ye Qingyu didn't seem to be on good terms with the King of Zhenyuan. It seemed like he had misjudged Ye Qingyu last night.
Then, they heard footsteps in the distance and the sounds of beasts galloping.
Zhou Hailong's reinforcements had arrived.
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