Book 2 Chapter 4: The Battle List
The springtime grass sprouted out of the earth beneath the flying orioles.
Short weeds flourished on the broad ridges of field bordering the two sides of a channel. At this moment, a dozen people were fighting bare-handed against one another on top of the two ridges.
“Stop.” A loud yell came from a distance.
A large group of people were rushing over at full speed. The person who shouted, a slim man, was at the very front leading the group. However, people were still fighting and no one had stopped. The thin man sprinted, rushing into the middle of the crowd. He held a lance and with a jab, a person was soon sent flying.
In the blink of an eye, about seven or eight men bulging with muscles were thrown into the air, but they immediately stood up the moment they fell on the ground.
“Was it the youngsters from Li Jia Village that wounded Dahou, right?” The thin Teng Yongxiang, the great master that taught the way of the lance in Teng Jia Village, yelled and scolded.
“Master Teng, we were merely irrigating our crop. What gives you Teng Jia villagers the right to block the gap for the irrigation of our field!” The brawny man with wounds on his body thundered angrily.
At this moment, a group of Teng Jia villagers have already arrived.
A woman from Teng Jia Village immediately cursed, “You heartless dog! It hadn’t rained since the arrival of spring. Your fields are lacking water, but don’t our fields need water too? But now, the river finally flooded. Why should all the water should be used by your Li Jia Village? Don’t we also need water in our fields?
At this time, the thin and tiny Teng Qingshan who was only four years old squeezed through the gap of people with ease and arrived in front of the group.
“Fighting for water?” When Teng Qingshan heard this, he finally understood the reason of this affair.
Teng Qingshan had never done any farm work in his previous life, so there were many things he didn’t understand. However, it was common knowledge that wheat needed water to grow. If there was not enough water to irrigate, it would lead to crop failure.
“Even though they fought, so far there were no deaths, and weapons were not used.” With a sweeping glance, Teng Qingshan found that some shovels and other tools had been placed on the fields. However, during the tussle between the two villages just now, only punches and kicks were used. Even though some people were injured and bloodied, no one died.
Teng Qingshan slightly thought and understood.
“If even one of the Teng Jia Villagers died, then the men of Teng Jia Village would most likely attack. It’s just a fight for water, which should be alright as long as nothing serious happens. If someone were to die, the issue between the two villages would escalate.” At this moment, a large group of people were running towards there from another direction.
“Qingshan, don’t run around.” At this moment, cousin Teng Qinghu also squeezed to the front and immediately grasped Teng Qingshan. “It’s chaos out here. You are only a small child. If you get hit, you will become injured so be careful.”
“Ok.” Teng Qingshan smiled to his cousin.
“Look, the people from Li Jia Village came as well.” Teng Qinghu also saw in the distance.
“Teng Yongxiang!” a big cry rang and a husky man with big beard was seen running here.
“Master.” All the clan members of Li Jia Village immediately stood aside.
Teng Yongxiang was the master of Teng Jia Village that taught the use of long spears, while the big bearded man, Li Liang, was the instructing master of Li Jia Village.
“Are you ok?” The big beard man looked around him. Immediately, some people from Li Jia Village immediately explained in a low voice.
“Li Liang!” Teng Yongxiang shot him a cold glare, “You should know that it didn’t rain. Your fields need water and so do ours. However, there is only this much water, Tell me, what should we do?” A big flood had caused the canal become full of water, so people immediately closed the front of the canal.
Thus, when the water level of the main watercourse receded, the water in the canal wouldn’t flow back. However, there was only this much water, how would it be divided?
“What to do…?” The big bearded man, Li Liang, held an iron lance and sneered, “It’s simple. Let’s fight. If I win, Li Jia Village gets to use this water first. If you win, Teng Jia Village gets to use this water first. What do you think? Do you dare to compete?”
With this, Li Liang inserted the spear into the ground.
Teng Yongxiang narrowed his eyes slightly.
“Seems like Uncle isn’t stronger than that big bearded fellow, Li Liang.” Teng Qingshan secretly speculated as he saw this.
“Li Liang.” Teng Yongxiang sneered, “The water in the canal is of great importance. I am afraid you don’t have the authority to use it to gamble.”
Big Beard Li Liang choked.
The water was meant for growing grain. Indeed, he did not have the qualification to make this water the stake of a bet.
“If you want to compete with me, then we should choose to stake something else. But today, we are talking about what to do with the water. If you are still that pig- headed, stand aside and talk after your Chief arrives.” Teng Yongxiang was very calm. At this time, the crowd of people from Li Jia Village separated, forming a path through the mass of bodies.
An old man with hair and beard that were bristling crackled as he strided towards the Teng Yongxiang.
“Chief Li.” Teng Yongxiang cupped his hands in a greeting.
“Yongxiang, where is Old Teng?” The old man said casually
“Chief is about to arrive.” Teng Yongxiang answered.
Teng Qingshan listened and immediately understood that this old man who looked like fierce Zhang Fei should be the Chief of Li Jia Village.
“Ha ha……” Before the person even arrived, the sounds of a jaunty laughter rang.
“Grandfather.” Teng Qingshan turned his head immediately.
A burly man walked forward with long steps. It was the Chief of Teng Jia Village, Teng Yunlong. The man with the iron spear following beside Teng Yunlong was Teng Qingshan’s father, Teng Yongfan. Teng Yunlong walked in front of the group and said in a clear voice, “Li Huojun, you should know about the matter. So tell me, how should we resolve this?”
“Teng Yunlong, you are truly straightforward.” the Chief of Li Jia Village, Li Huojun, smiled and loudly said, “ The old rules and regulations!”
“Group fighting or one versus one fighting?” Teng Yunlong asked.
What is group fighting and one versus one fighting?” Teng Qingshan asked cousin Teng Qinghu beside him in a low voice. Teng Qinghu whispered, “Qingshan, when two village have conflicts, they always determine the winner of the argument by fighting. Group fighting is when each village dispatches ten strong men to fight without any weapons. When all of the people on one side cannot stand anymore, the other side wins. Group fighting is always a little intense, and may even cause deaths. As for one to one fighting, you should probably understand it without me explaining it.”
Teng Qingshan nodded slightly.
The Chief of Li Jia Village calmly considered it before speaking with a smile, “For this conflict, we shall use one versus one fighting. Let’s hold three matches. The water will be made available for twelve hours per day. If one wins the match , the winning side would be able to use the water freely for 4 hours. If two matches are won, the winning side gets to use the water for 8 hours. If three matches are won, then the winning side is able to use water freely. On the contrary, the loser will not be allowed to use the water to irrigate.
Teng Yunlong pondered for a while
“Okay.” Teng Yunlong nodded his head in agreement.
The two Chiefs nodded, and like that, it was decided.
“This place is too small. Let’s go to Blood Sand Hill.” Teng Yunlong said.
“Very well.” Li Huojun nodded.
Immediately, under the lead of the two Chiefs, the people from both villages departed for Blood Sand Hill.
“Qingshan, you actually came here too.” Yuan Lan picked up Teng Qingshan and rebuked him with a slightly angry tone, “This place is in turmoil. I thought you were in the village but you are actually here! Qinghu, it was you who took your cousin here, right? Your cousin is too young to understand these matters, you should have known better. In spite of that, you still brought him here?”
Reprimanded, Teng Qinghu slightly lowered his head.
Teng Qingshan also obediently lowered his head as he listened to his mother’s rebuke.
“Yuan Lan.” At this time, Teng Yongfan came towards them, “All right, don’t scold the children. Let’s all go to Blood Sand Hill together.” With this, Teng Yongfan took Teng Qingshan in his arms, “Good son, you’d better watch this match carefully. When you grow up, you should become a hero too. If you become as powerful as your cousin in the future, haha, I, your father, would laugh even in my sleep.”
Cousin Teng Qinghu could lift 300 Jin when he was just nine years old. He was innately gifted. Most people thought he would be amongst the first-ranked hero in Teng Jia Village. For a father to have such expectation of his son wasn’t difficult to comprehend.
“Catch up to cousin?” thought Teng Qingshan, unable to say anything.
Blood Sand Hill was a bare field. At this moment, nearly one thousand people had gathered here.
“This circle is about five Zhang in length. Each hero from Teng Jia Village and Li Jia Village will come in bare-handed. The match will be declared over when the loser is beaten to the ground and can’t crawl back up or is beaten out of the circle. ” A silver haired man with a crutch announced with clarity.
Both Chiefs looked at each other.
“Each side can use up to four hours of water for every match won by that side.” The silver haired elder said distinctly, “Now, honorable Chiefs, please dispatch your three clansmen and write their names according to the sequence in which they will fight. Then, according to the list, the first, second, and third clansman of each clan will fight the first, second, and third clansman of the opposing clan!” The silver haired elder spoke with adequate energy.
Teng Qingshan heard the rules and couldn’t help but secretly nod.
This way prevented from happening events that were similar to Tian Ji’s Horse Race. One side wouldn’t be able to know the sequence of the opposite side, so naturally, they couldn’t strategize beforehand.
“We are ready.” Teng Yunlong smiled and held up a red paper in his hand.
“We are ready as well.” Li Huojun also held up a red paper.
The silver haired man with crutches collected the two pieces of paper and began to read: “The sequence of the matches between Teng Jia Village is Teng Yonglei, Teng Yongfan, and Teng Yongxiang. The sequence of the match in Li Jia Village is Li Wutian, Li Liang, and Li Jinfu!”
Teng Yonglei against Li Wutian.
Teng Yongfan against Li Liang.
Teng Yongxiang against Li Jinfu.
“Li Jinfu?” Many people in Ten Jia Village were confused.
Both Li Liang and Li Wutian belonged to the “Wu” generation . The reason why Li Liang wasn’t named Li Wuliang was that the two words, Wuliang and Wuliang, were homophonic. Therefore, the elders directly named him “Li Liang.” As for Li Jinfu, it was obvious that he was from a younger generation than Li Wutian and Li Liang.
(TLN: This is the first WuLiang (乌良) and this is the second Wuliang (无良). Different writing, different meaning. The second Wuliang (无良) means unscrupulous which would not be a good name.)
“This Li Jinfu kid should be about 10+ years old this year.” The sound of discussions came from the people of Teng Jia Village, “He is actually competing?”
“Father is also going to compete?” As Teng Qingshan listened, he heard his father’s name and couldn’t help but turn his head to look at him.