Tome of Troubled Times - C.63: River Crossed!

Tome of Troubled Times

C.63: River Crossed!

“Do you have anything like a hairpin with you? You’re not wearing one right now,” Zhao Changhe suddenly said.

“I do. It’s in my bag.” Cui Yuanyong did not know what he wanted to do and took out a golden hairpin from her small bag. “Will this do?”

As expected, this was a woman’s bag. It was the same in this world and the real world. Though they looked small, they contained all sorts of items, like Doraemon’s pocket.

“That’ll do.” Zhao Changhe grabbed the hairpin, used his saber to carve out a sharp point at the tip, then bolted out of the cabin. After thinking for a moment, he felt that his hefty saber would be too unwieldy underwater and left it on the ship. Instead, he grabbed the knife used to butcher fish and stuffed it in his belt before jumping into the water in one smooth motion.

Cui Yuanyang hurried off to steer the ship, and it was only then that she saw the scene Zhao Changhe had described—behind them were a considerable number of indistinct ships approaching them. In just a few moments, a calm and peaceful river had been invaded by the oppressive atmosphere of a naval battlefield. No matter how one looked at it, this was not normal in the slightest.

There were a few ships that were already rather close, and the sailors were preparing to shoot arrows.

It did not matter if the fish was poisoned. Even if it was safe to eat, if they were to sit there and leisurely enjoy their meal, that fish’s family would be enjoying a feast in no time...

Cui Yuanyang anxiously rowed the ship towards the shore. From time to time, she glanced at the ripples on the water’s surface. She did not know how Zhao Changhe was faring in the water...

No, wait. Can—can he even swim!?

From what she knew of Zhao Changhe’s life, he was born in some backcountry place called the Zhao House, then he went to the Luo Family Village, and from there to Beimang. All these places only had small creeks and pools.

No one knew that Zhao Changhe could swim, but he could, and pretty well at that...

The first thing he saw as he wildly dove into the water was, as expected, the helmsman trying to drill a hole on the bottom of the boat. It was difficult to work underwater, so he had only opened a small cavity. The sound of Zhao Changhe entering the water frightened him. When he turned to look at him, he was incomparably stunned.

This Zhao Changhe’s instincts are too keen. Has he really only just begun traveling the jianghu not too long ago? If he isn’t a veteran, then there’s only one possibility: he’s a natural-born man of the jianghu.

As he thought this, the helmsman grinned sinisterly. He gave up his position under the boat, took out an Emei piercer, and swam in Zhao Changhe’s direction.[1]

Whether one knew how to swim had little to do with how effective they were when fighting underwater. First and foremost, being able to open one’s eyes underwater was a skill that needed to be trained. How could Zhao Changhe have ever practiced this skill, let alone holding his breath and maneuvering underwater? These were skills that only certain people in the jianghu practiced, people who made their living around water. They could hold their breath longer and exploit the currents to move smoothly through the water. Even if a land god entered the water, they would have to hide in front of these people!

The helmsman reached Zhao Changhe and thrust his piercer forward, while Zhao Changhe took out his knife to deflect the attack. From his movements, the helmsman could clearly tell that Zhao Changhe was not used to being underwater. He had to struggle to even keep his eyes half-open, and his movements were nowhere near as strong as on land.

The helmsman thought to himself, If this is the extent of your skill underwater, then you can die here. I’m also at the third layer of the Profound Gate. I wonder if I’ll take your place on the Tome of Troubled Times after this.

As the thought floated in his mind, he kicked slightly and drove himself toward Zhao Changhe. Zhao Changhe clumsily swung his knife over, but his hand was deftly caught by the helmsman under his armpit—a mirror image of what had transpired inside the cabin of the ship.

The helmsman grinned and fiercely thrust his Emei piercer at Zhao Changhe’s chest.

However, the moment the helmsman approached, Zhao Changhe tightly pursed his lips and suddenly spat out something.

The broken tip of a golden hairpin suffused with his internal force shot out!

At such a close distance, the helmsman did not have time to dodge. Even if the projectile was slowed down quite a bit in the water, all the same, it sounded his death knell.

Overwhelmed with shock, he wanted to dodge away, but at such a close distance, he could not do so in time. The hairpin pierced through his eye and into his brain.

Blood squirted out. The helmsman screamed in pain on instinct, and the river water rushed in his mouth in an instant; he could not make a sound.

Are we the murderers playing dirty or are you the murderer playing dirty? How are your tricks even more sinister than ours!?

This was the last thing the helmsman thought.

In reality, his piercer had pierced Zhao Changhe’s chest before he died. However, he had lost all his strength. His wrist had also been caught by Zhao Changhe’s left hand, and so he had only barely scratched Zhao Changhe.

Unfortunately, the tip was poisoned.

It was not just Zhao Changhe who could play dirty...

Unfortunately, Zhao Changhe did not have the luxury to worry about his injuries or the poison. He circulated his qi according to his internal art to suppress the effects of the poison and forcefully freed his right hand from the helmsman’s grip. Then, suddenly, he threw his knife behind him.

The thin blade spun as it flew and just nicely managed to streak across the throat of the boatwoman who was about to strike him from behind.

Her eyes went wide. She could not understand.

With the rather serious injury on her back, she had originally intended to leave. However, upon seeing that Zhao Changhe was in a tangle, she thought that she could just as well exploit the opportunity and ambush him. He had his back facing me and he was fighting! Just how did he know I was making my way over to ambush him? How did he manage to pick out where I was and hit so accurately?

How on earth did he know...

No one would ever tell the helmsman just who the real person playing dirty tricks was, nor the boatwoman how Zhao Changhe was able to see what was happening behind him.

Zhao Changhe covered the wound on his chest and anxiously swam to the surface, taking big breaths.

Though what he had done underwater seemed like a short moment to him and he had not expended much energy, in reality, he had spent a considerable amount of time there, a good few minutes. If he was a normal person, he would have drowned by now. If it was not for Xia Longyuan’s internal force supporting his circulation, there was no way he could have fought so effectively in that battle.

The thought then came to Zhao Changhe: if he practiced this internal art to a high level, could it completely replace his breath? Would he no longer need to breathe?

The current situation did not allow him to ponder such a problem. Zhao Changhe endured the pain from the wound and the thrashing of the poison inside of him, and assessed the situation.

When Cui Yuanyang said she knew a bit about rowing, she clearly meant just a little bit. At most, she had learned how to do it for fun. Normally, who would let a young lady take on such a crude job? The rate at which the boat approached the shore with her rowing was not that much faster than drifting along with the current. She also did not know how to turn the ship.

The river was quite wide and there was still some distance between the ship and the shore. From behind, the enemy ships were fast approaching. Zhao Changhe could see some people readying their bows and nocking their arrows.

At this moment, it just so happened that he was between the ship Cui Yuanyang was on and the one behind them. The distance from Zhao Changhe to both ships was about the same. Without much thought, Zhao Changhe swam over, treading across the waves and boarding the ship behind in just a few moments.

The people onboard, who were gauging whether they were close enough to start shooting arrows, were all shocked as a person suddenly popped out of the water.

Zhao Changhe was unarmed. Without saying a word, he smashed his fist into one of the archers’ temple, snatched away his bow and arrows, and immediately backflipped into the water.

It was only after the fact that the crew managed to react, and they shouted simultaneously, “It’s Zhao Changhe! What the hell, did he take down River Child and Water Hawk?”

“His movement art isn’t enough for him to cross back to his ship! Hurry and find out where he’s swimming! Shoot him!”

Unfortunately, in the chaos, they were a step too late. By the time someone had aimed their bow at Zhao Changhe, he had already swam over half the distance, hopped out of the water, leaped up high in the air, and hastily yelled at Cui Yuanyang, who was steering the ship ashore, “Yangyang! The mooring rope by your feet! Throw it to me!”

Cui Yuanyang decisively let go of her oar, bent down to pick up the thick hawser used to secure the boat to the dock, and forcefully threw it over.

Zhao Changhe caught it in the air and used to speedily pull himself back to the ship. From behind came a rain of arrows, but not a single one managed to land even one zhang near him.

Cui Yuanyang only had a single thought: If he isn’t a god, then what is he!?

However, the moment her god stepped onto the bow of the ship, he staggered and almost fell over. His face was pale.

Cui Yuanyang looked at the bloodstains on his chest. They were black.

“You’ve been poisoned!”

“No shit. If I play dirty, so will other people. And they’ll be even more sinister.” Zhao Changhe leaned against the side of the ship, still smiling. “It’s up to you now, rich loli of many treasures. You won’t let me down, will you?”

Cui Yuanyang was not in the mood to joke with him. She anxiously opened her small bag, took out a medicinal pill and quickly stuffed it in his mouth. “You need different medicines to deal with different poisons! The Cui Clan doesn’t have any miracle drugs!”

“It’s enough as long as it can help suppress the poison.” Zhao Changhe stopped to feel the effects of the medicine for a moment. Its medicinal effects really did help to stop the spread of the poison. He was satisfied and chuckled as he picked up his saber. He made circles around his wound, cutting out all of the flesh that had rotted from the poison.

Blood gushed out, but there was nothing to bind his wounds with. The rags he had around were all filthy. If he used those to wrap up his injuries, they would get infected.

Zhao Changhe did not concern himself with this too much. He just poured some wine from his gourd onto his wound, and stood up once more.

He turned around to look at what the others were doing. From behind, the ship closest to theirs was almost within range. There were a whole lot of bows ready to shoot.

Zhao Changhe grabbed the bow and arrows he just snatched and drew back the bowstring fully. The arrow he shot out flew like a shooting star.


The enemy ship’s sails suddenly fell and the speed they were getting from the wind was abruptly lowered. The next moment, arrows descended from the sky like locusts. However, Zhao Changhe’s boat was just that little bit out of range. Only a few arrows struck the back of the boat.

Zhao Changhe took the chance to retrieve his saber, sling the bow across his shoulders, and fasten the quiver to his waist. After securing all his equipment, he let out a small sigh of relief. As he glanced at the shore and estimated the distance, he finally ginned.

The little rabbit’s entire head was drenched in sweat from rowing the boat for so long. With this, even if the ship was moving at a snail’s pace, it would soon arrive at the shore!

Finally, a few minutes later, Zhao Changhe pulled Cui Yuanyang over and leapt to the shore. The howling river winds carried his loud voice. “Thank you for ferrying us! I’m sure we’ll meet again!”

1. Traditional Wushu weapons said to originate on Mount Emei. They are basically metal rods with a sharp spike at both ends and a finger ring in the middle. They look like this: . ☜

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