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Legend of the Lone Sword (II)
A popular martial arts novel in Liyue Harbor. In a world without elemental energy or alchemy, a tale unfolds of love and hate between friends and foes. This volume tells of Jin the Seventy-Second's arrival in Tupi Village.
They say that in that faraway land, "Tupi" meant to burn away vanity's dross to attain the gem of truth.
Tupi Village lay at the foot of a barren mountain, passable to the outside world only by a single ancient path — the very same that lay beneath Jin the Seventy-Second's feet.
The skies were darkening, and the wind and rain howled.
Jin the Seventy-Second had never had anything to do with Tupi Village, but for his vengeance, and so he now sought out its village chief.
By the time the oxcart had finally trudged its way through the muddy old road to the mountain's base, it was fully night, and gloomy clouds cast a boundless shadow as they covered the moon's eyes. Jin the Seventy-Second hid in that shade, drinking the night in, body and soul.
In that deep night, the pure white light of the moon shone upon the head of the village chief. Tupi Village had never been large, but the chief was no ordinary character. No one knew his name or his past, and no one dared ask.
They only knew that his shoulders bore a great blood debt, from a past as crimson as his eyes.
For red they were, and sharp, like a blade, piercing the hearts of all he gazed upon as he pleased.
His character was much the same, like a sharp knife that might pierce another person's heart at any time without forewarning.
The chief shook his head as he talked to himself, the cold moonlight dancing over his shaven crown.
Outside, a ravenous demon wielded a blood-letting long sword, massacring his followers one after the other.
Though Tupi Village was full of evil people, schools and sects had their rules, and so none would dare come knocking with rash provocations and talk of revenge.
But Jin the Seventy-Second had no school or sect, and was thus unbound by any such rules. He was but a single starving ghost with a lone sharp blade, yearning to taste the blood of his enemies.
The wind and rain accompanied the din of battle, and the downpour washed away the crimson that stained the swordsman, only for another layer to be painted on immediately...
The crimson swordsman strode forward amid a crimson mist. Many were his wounds, but none could stay his hand.
When that mist had at last cleared in the endless deluge, the swordsman crossed the turbid red beneath his feet, and stalked towards the chief's mansion.
The din beyond the gates quieted, and only now did the chief raise a cup of wine, and scatter the alchohol into the air with a flick. Perhaps to toast the fated meeting to come, or as a ritual for his sullied soul.
The doors opened. It was Jin the Seventy-Second, his reddened outline juxtaposed against the blinding gray elements outside.
"I have questions for you, village chief."
"You've raken quite a few of my men's lives."
"Exactly three hundred and sixty-two. No more, no less..."
The chief spoke naught and his face remained still, but the pulsing vein in his temple betrayed the fire within.
"...Ah yes, and one dog."
So saying, the crimson silhouette tossed a certain object forward.
It clattered atop the wine case...
...And it was the bone of the dog that guarded the door. It had been stewed for a time, and was picked clean almost to the marrow.
For in this half and hour, not only had Jin the Seventy-Second snuffed out the lives of three hundred and sixty-two able men, but he had even turned the dog keeping the gate into dog meat stew.
The village chief led out a terrible scream, and standing he drew his sword—
Legend of the Lone Sword (II) can be found in Qingce Village.