Chapter 1163 – The Ape Demon Scoops the Moon, All to Null and Void
The night was cool like water. The moon was cold like frost.
Li Qingshan made his way through the dancing tree shadows. Suddenly, he heard the sound of a sword piercing the air, flashing with scarlet light in the courtyard ahead. He could not help but make his way over, only to see a woman practising the sword. He watched for a while under the entrance before shaking his head. “It’s wrong.”
Feihong looked back in surprise. “Manor lord, you’ve emerged!”
“Hmm, you’re called Feihong, right?” Li Qingshan was a little absent-minded. If it were not for the Fierce Fire sword, he almost did not recognise her.
“So the manor lord still remembers me.” Feihong beamed with joy. “May I ask what is wrong?”
“Your swordsmanship is wrong.”
“But I’m just following the sword manual.”
“Yours is different. Speaking of which, the sword manual is wrong too.”
“Please give me guidance, manor lord.” Feihong immediately offered up the Fierce Fire sword carefully.
Li Qingshan glanced at her and casually accepted the Fierce Fire sword. He began to move with it slowly. His movements were slow and sluggish, not completely for the sake of demonstrating swordsmanship to her, but because his strength was still below hers even after recovering quite a bit.
But in her eyes, it seemed to conform with the world.
The Sword Collection Manual of Heaven and Earth was the most profound swordsmanship Li Qingshan had ever come into contact with. If someone attained its highest realm, everything in the world was available for them to wield. They could achieve unprecedented softness and flexibility, as well as unprecedented firmness and strength.
However, the most ironic part of this all was nothing in this world was available for him to wield. His mind fluctuated, and the sword came to a halt. Suddenly, he looked back. “Do you have a blade?”
It was like a spark, which alarmed Feihong. Only then did she realise it was his gaze, like a charcoal fire rising up in the darkness. “Manor lord, this is the Mountain Manor of the Divine Ape. How can there be any blades?”
The glow of the fire dimmed again, and Li Qingshan returned the Fierce Fire sword to her. “Then forget about it. Keep practising the sword.” He turned around and continued on his stroll.
“Manor lord, I have something else that I’d like your advice on.”
“What is it?” Li Qingshan looked back.
Feihong told him about what happened earlier today and hesitated. “Do you think I should practise the sword?”
“How would I know?” Li Qingshan laid out his hands and shrugged.
“Huh?” In Feihong’s eyes, he was filled with mysteriousness. She felt like nothing could stop or stump him.
“If your swordsmanship is wrong, I can teach you, but you must choose your path yourself.”
“But how am I supposed to choose?”
“Those who use the sword die to the sword. None of what they said is wrong. If you practise the sword, then you need to become bloodied, and you might die on the streets. It truly isn’t as safe and secure as being a canary in a cage, and you can have a relatively easier life too. However, I don’t think you can take that path.”
“Because you’re not an idiot!”
“I’m not… an idiot…” Feihong was stunned.
“So if you don’t practise the sword, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. You won’t even have what they have.”
“I get it. I’m not an idiot!” Feihong smiled.
“Wolves eat meat. Dogs eat shit. Everyone has their way of getting by. If you practise the sword, then even if you get married off to someone in the future, your husband’s family will have to treat you with some respect. They have such a great, heaven-sent opportunity, yet they don’t know how to grasp it, all because they find it too laborious. Despite that, they go on about something like how peace is happiness? They deserve to eat shit for the rest of their lives!”
He went on about idiots and shit, which really did leave Feihong feeling disgusted, but she also felt enlightened. She could not help but laugh aloud. “Manor lord, you’re far too interesting, but I’m not going to get married. I want to achieve peerless swordsmanship and shatter through space!”
Those were three words that even a master like Hou Hongtao did not dare to mention carelessly, yet now it came from the mouth of a woman who almost possessed nothing. It was a dream.
“And what about after that?”
“Umm…” There was nothing Feihong could respond with. Originally, her blood had been boiling with enthusiasm, but now she felt a chill as the night breeze swept by.
The difficulties that lay in a dream was not the twisted path leading to it, but the fact that no one knew what would happen once it came true.
What if she ended up wandering through the void forever after shattering through space? What if she was eaten in a single gulp by a powerful demon as soon as she arrived in a different world?
When it came to this, his “beyond the Nine Heavens” was not necessarily much better than her “shattering through space”.
“You can think about it yourself slowly!” Li Qingshan strolled away with his hands behind his back.
Feihong gazed at his back and felt troubled. She had just dealt with a problem after so much difficulty, only for him to toss her a greater one. She spent a good moment thinking about it, but she could not come up with anything. Whatever. I’ll deal with it when the time comes. You better watch as I achieve peerless swordsmanship first and make those foolish women die from regret!
There were some problems that others did not have to think about, but Li Qingshan had to think about them. The tiny failure could not even be considered as a setback compared to the trials of life and death he had faced in the past. However, in the current situation, it just happened to perturb his worry hidden in the depths of his heart.
What was awaiting him beyond the Nine Heavens? Even if he had the ox demon’s persistence and the tiger demon’s vigour, what if his centuries and millennia of hard work was all an empty illusion? Or perhaps it was like what the Clam King of Mirage Sea had said, that the world had always been an empty illusion, and everything was merely the murmurs of someone else as they slept.
Li Qingshan arrived by a pool. The full moon reflected in the pool as if it was right by his side.
Abruptly, he thought of something. He could not help but bend over and attempt to scoop up the moon.
However, the water rippled, wrapping around the tips of his fingers gently. The moon shifted as a result.
The reflections in the water were obviously beyond his reach.
His mind was completely absorbed by the rippling moon. He extended his hands again, but he grabbed nothing again. Only water trickled between his fingers. As the ripples settled, the full moon appeared on the water surface again, and his disappointment immediately turned back into hope. He was extremely serious with every single attempt he made, such that he forgot everything else going on around him, including his past failures. He did something so foolish that even little children would not do.
Like that, he repeated it who knew how many times. Suddenly, he returned to his senses. “Hang on, there’s something off. It’s winter right now, so why hasn’t the water frozen over?”
In the blink of an eye, the pool was sealed up by ice. Even the moon was obscured by the clouds. The surroundings were dark and quiet.
Li Qingshan was dumbfounded. He smiled wryly. “Have I suffered from cultivation deviation?”
Even now, he continued to long for the moon in the water, with the same pure sincerity as a child. It was so gentle and close, such that he wanted to cup it in his hands.
Like a bolt of lightning through the night sky, a shadowy figure suddenly lit up in the depths of his sea of consciousness. A black ape hung upside down, extending its long arms like it was trying to scoop up something.
A mantra leapt out at him. The Ape Demon Scoops the Moon, All to Null and Void!
A tremendous amount of information flooded through his sea of consciousness, turning into the Ape Demon’s Method of Moon Scooping.
Indeed, it was the fifth transformation of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, the Ape Demon Transformation!
However, Li Qingshan was unable to smile. He murmured to himself, “The Ape Demon Scoops the Moon, All to Null and Void, All to Null and Void!”
Unlike the Ox Demon Transformation and the Tiger Demon Transformation, the ape demon neither possessed the ox demon’s persistence to never yield even in the face of death, nor the tiger demon’s ambition to fight anything and everything, which were both filled with a solemn and stirring spirit. The ape demon’s figure even bore a sense of playful innocence.
All the ape wanted to do was scoop up the moon in the water. That was fated to be an empty illusion, but it was completely unaware, trying tirelessly, continuing until even the world around it collapsed. Was that not a form of great sorrow?
Even in the legendary last layer of hell, Avīci, at least those trapped in there would be aware they were being punished and tortured, and perhaps they would even struggle and put up resistance. Even if they could not put up a struggle, at least they still understood despair.