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Chapter 51: Martial Arts Tournament.
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Sunday morning, Zhou Tianhao’s vehicle was parked right at the entrance of the Lake Side Community.
Other than Chen Fan, Master Guo and Zhou Tianhao, A’Biao and ten other bodyguards also tagged along. They drove five cars in total. A’Biao was driving the car that Chen Fan and Zhou Tianhao were in.
“Are we going toward Dong Jiang Province?” Chen Fan asked curiously.
“Yes, the land there is expansive, and therefore our event is always hosted in the Dong Jiang Province.” Zhou Tianhao explained. “The Qin Yang County was the border town between Dong Jiang Province and Hu Dong Province. People there adored martial arts. Every year around this time, the villagers will host a wrestling compet.i.tion.
“Every year around this time, people from all the other villages and counties will flock to join the compet.i.tion. It was quite a sight to behold.”Zhou Tianhao said yearningly. “We had chosen this time to host our Martial Arts Tournament in order to honor their tradition.
“The business aspect aside, the tournament is a compet.i.tion for the best martial artist. There will be many wealthy people from as far as Dong Jiang Province coming to spectate the tournament.
“The large crowd the tournament drew to the country helped the local economy significantly. After so many years, it had become one of the major income sources for the local people. ”
“I see.” Chen Fan nodded.
The Chu Zhou City was only two hours away from Dong Jiang Province. Once they drove across the border, the scenery outside of the car window changed drastically.
Chu Zhou City was located in the northern part of the coastal province: Hu Dong, and therefore its economy was not as developed as those cities in the south. Dong Jiang Province was even less developed due to its land-locked location. From the narrow gravel roads to the dingy shacks along the side of the road, Chen Fan felt that the quality of life here in this small county was five years behind that of Chu Zhou City.
As for Qin Yang County, Chen Fan found it very similar to the countryside that he visited when he was a child. Time seemed to have stopped here, and everything looked exactly how they were in the ’80s
Once they entered the Qin Yang County, they pulled over beside a luxury three-story building.
“Boss Zhou, you are finally here!” Someone was already waiting for them at the entrance.
“Master Chen, Master Guo, this is Boss Zhang From Qin Yang County.” Zhou Tianhao introduced the owner of the house lazily.
“Oh my. Don’t call me boss. Just call me Xiao Zhang.” Boss Zhang hurried a reply.
To a local gentry from a small village, Zhou Tianhao was considered a powerful magnate. As such, Boss Zhang fawned over him to gain his favor. Even a small favor from Zhou Tianhao would be so beneficial to a local gentry that he would laugh in his dreams.
“Is this Master Chen?”
Boss Zhang glanced at Zhou Tianhao’s entourage, and he quickly spotted Chen Fan and noticed the authority the boy commanded.
“Yes. Master Chen is the Third Lord’s friend.” Zhou Tianhao said thinly.
Excitement flashed across Boss Zhang’s face. He reached out both hands and pumped Chen Fan’s hands vigorously. “Oh my! Third Lord’s friend! I am so honored!”
The Wei Family was a household name across China, and therefore, Boss Zhang was familiar with the Third Lord and his clout.
Seeing how young Chen Fan was, Boss Zhang was even more convinced that Chen Fan came from a prestigious family. Otherwise, he would not befriend the Third Lord. So thinking, Boss Zhang’s smile broadened and became even more enthusiastic to please Chen Fan.
“It is Master Chen’s first time visiting your village; please take good care of him.” Zhou Tianhao said.
“You can count on me!” Vice Mayor Zhang ponded his chest and announced.
Once they entered the three-story building, Chen Fan was greeted by a few attractive young girls. The beauty of their youth was evident on their smooth face that was devoid of any makeup.
One of the girls sat beside Chen Fan. She was the youngest and the most attractive.
While waiting, Chen Fan started a short conversation with her.
Her name was A’Xiu, and she was from a large family and had many siblings. Her parents couldn’t afford for all the kids to go to university, and therefore, A’Xiu was forced to quit school ever since junior high. Because of her good looks, she was hired by the local government to be a waitress in the local government-owned hotel.
After they had lunch, Chen Fan suggested walking around the village and explore.
Boss Zhang hurried to caution him that the local residents of Qin Yang ware quite ill-mannered and short tempered. If he walked alone, the locals might pick on him over a stare. He suggested Chen Fan bring A’Xiu with him. The locals were less likely to stir up trouble if they saw one of them was among the visitors.
As he offered his suggestion, Boss Zhang shot a knowing glance at A’Xiu.
A’Xiu blushed and then she lowered her head.
The tournament stretched over a few days, and only on the last day would the audiences see the compet.i.tion among bosses from Jiang Bei Region. After all, only the wealthiest businessman would have afforded the best fighters who would last until the end.
Wealthy men and women who could afford the tickets flocked into the county to see the matches on the last day.
As Chen Fan strolled in the streets of the small village, he saw groups of visitors pa.s.s him on many occasions. Their fine dress and pale complexions were a telltale sign that they were from the city and had never worked one day in the field.
Among these city visitors, Chen Fan saw newly-wed couples, school mates, and beer-bellied middle age men walking beside their young mistress with a group of bodyguards following them. All of them came to see the tournament.
“What is the schedule of the tournament like?”
Chen Fan asked.
A’Xiu was a shy girl; she spoke quietly, “The tournament is usually hosted in the evening. The stage was used by the locals for their wrestling compet.i.tion. After the tournament, we have a bonfire party every night.
“The wrestling compet.i.tion was just for fun, and therefore, the rewards are not very high.
“But the tournament was the real deal. The partic.i.p.ants were no ordinary fighters.”
After she said that, her eyes lost focus for a second.
She wanted to get out of this village and go study in the city, get a job and marry a city boy. However, since she was a girl and her grades were nothing to brag about, her family had decided to prioritize her brothers’ education and let the girls quit the schools.
Chen Fan noticed her sudden silence. He shot her an indifferent glance.
Having lived for five hundred years, Chen Fan had become insensitive to humanity’s suffering. He knew that time would wash away everything, so why should he care for the mortals and their troubles. If he were a sixteen-year-old boy, he would have felt so bad for the girl and would give her a ticket out of the small town then and there.
A’Xiu quickly gathered herself and led Chen Fan to other parts of the village.
As they walked on the main street of the town, a large group of people were heading toward the opposite direction. Their confident and imperious strides suggested the immense power of their leader. At the center of the group, Chen Fan saw Xu Ao.
The group had blocked the road, and Chen Fan had to stop.
After Xu Ao noticed Chen Fan, he paused a second and looked at the boy with a frown.
“Why are you here?”