Chapter 10 – There are No Gods Watching Over Up Above
The elders all sat back down while trembling. Li Qingshan buried his face in the food and alcohol, eating and drinking to his heart’s content. In the past few days, all he had to eat was river deer meat, which he had gotten tired of as well. He wanted to change up his diet, so he polished off the entire table of alcohol and dishes. He rubbed his bulging belly.
“Everyone in this courtyard is technically my elders. It wouldn’t even be an exaggeration if you said some of you watched me grow up. However, some people give no consideration to this, harrassing me for the sake of a bit of land. If you don’t give me an explanation today, I’ll give you an explanation instead. Even if it costs me my life, I won’t hesitate.”
As Li Qingshan spoke, he picked up the knife. “Caretaker Liu, village head Li, don’t you agree?”
Caretaker Liu was determined to avert the imminent danger. He yielded and said, “Erlang, if you want to farm on the land, take it then!”
Li Qingshan replied, “I don’t want the land. You bought that by spending your own money. I have no interest in taking advantage of you. I just want justice. You do whatever you want in the village, but never forget that the gods are watching over up above and justice lies in the heart of people.” Towards the end, he had become harsh in both tone and expression.
Awkwardly enough, caretaker Liu had no idea how to respond. Village head Li responded in his stead, “This was our fault for believing in your brother…”
“That’s not my brother.” Li Qingshan interrupted coldly.
“Li Da and the others have been talking nonsense. They were blinded by greed, which was why they managed to commit such stupidity. These days, I haven’t been able to catch a wink of sleep. I’m just afraid that once I pass away someday, I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to face your parents.” When the village head reached the end, he had already broken down into sobs as tears streaked across his face, but he was thinking about how he had suffered these past few days.
Li Qingshan then turned to a few elders. “Then do you think that I deserved a share of the land?”
“You did, you did!” Was there still anyone who dared to say ‘no’ right now?
Li Qingshan managed to get everything he had come out for. He tilted his head back and laughed aloud. “So there’s still justice in this world!” His laughter suddenly halted; he lowered his head as his expression changed constantly. He was stern at times and relieved at others. There was a hint of indescribable sorrow among all of it. He looked at the knife in his hands. “Turns out, justice lies here.”
He furrowed his brows and muttered, “There are no gods watching over up above. Justice lies within the knife. There are no gods watching over up above. Justice lies within the knife…” He could not help but let his voice grow louder and louder. Eventually, it boomed through the entire residence.
He was originally indignant, determined to vent it all out. He was even ready to kill, but now, he felt that it was pointless. He stowed the knife away and no longer paid any attention to the people seated there. He turned around and made his way out, vanishing in the blink of an eye.
The workers had enjoyed a free fast, and they had just seen a good show as well, so they dispersed in satisfaction. All of them talked about Li Qingshan with faces filled with admiration.
Caretaker Liu wiped away the cold sweat on his forehead. He knew that if he still wanted to gather people to deal with Li Qingshan, it would be extremely difficult. Even though he possessed land, the workers were not his slaves. They could not be ordered around by him. Even if they were slaves, they could rebel. If he aggravated all the workers into opposing him, it would be absolutely terrible.
Fortunately, Li Erlang was a person who held clear debts of gratitude and revenge. Since he had mentioned it all today, he would not be scheming for revenge anymore, so caretaker Liu could get some peace at the very least. While the feast was not a success, he had managed to achieve his objectives. He saw village head Li’s two sons help him to his feet. While the village head still felt embarrassed, he seemed relieved as well, probably thinking of the same thing as him.
The two of them made eye contact and both felt awkward.
Li Hu refused to leave the matter like this. “Father, why don’t we get elder brother to come back? With his martial arts, I refuse to believe that he can’t handle Li Erlang.”
Li Bao added, “Uncle Liu, isn’t brother Liu in Qingyang city?”
Village head Li just happened to be fuming, so he said viciously, “All of you shut up! How did I manage to give birth to people as useless as you?”
Meanwhile, Caretaker Liu said nothing. They had both been through quite a lot, so they understood the benefits of playing it safe very well. They would never take this risk for the sake of just their pride.
“You bunch of useless people, the gods have already become furious. His days are numbered,” the witch who had remained silent the entire time suddenly said with an air of malice and mystery.
Despite being right underneath the sun, many people could not help but shiver. In this day and age, everyone revered ghosts and gods, and the witch was the person communicated with the gods. Li Qingshan had actually just said that there were actually no gods watching over up above, so he really might have infuriated the gods.
Some people even thought of how there was once a child in the village who had fallen ill, and his family had sought out the witch to cure him. The witch said that the child had been possessed by a monster, so she burnt him with fire and drowned him with water before smothering him with blankets, saying that she was forcing out the monster. Yet in the end, she had smothered the child to death.
The witch only said that the kings of hell wanted to see him, claiming that no one could save him. However, the parents of the child refused to accept this. The child’s mother would shout abuses outside the witch’s home everyday, which severely damaged the witch’s prestige in the village. However, after just a few days, the child’s mother suddenly passed away from an illness. Her death was quite baffling.
All the witch said was that the child missed his mother in the netherworld. After that, nobody ever dared to disrespect her again. By kicking and shouting at her in public, Li Qingshan had already offended her completely.
“Caretaker Liu, this child is one of the unavoidable calamities in your life. Now that the gods have removed this calamity for you…”
Caretaker Liu quickly ordered some people to pack some incense, candles, alcohol, and food for the witch. The witch then looked at village head Li. He also produced a small piece of silver reluctantly, sending the witch off with that.
A worker carried these items and followed closely behind the witch, afraid of uttering anything unnecessary. They arrived in front of a house with black tiles. Aside from caretaker Liu and village head Li, she was the only person in the village who could afford a house of brick and tiles.
There was an altar table and an incense burner in the hall. The air was filled with incense smoke. It was both a residence and a shrine.
“Xiao An, Xiao An, granny is back,” the witch suddenly croaked. Her wrinkly face formed a mysterious smile. It was anything but amiable.
The worker knew the witch did not have any grandchildren, so he was frightened out of his wits. He placed everything down in a hurry. Suddenly, he felt like someone was tugging his pants, but looking back, there was no one there at all. He cried out, “Mother of heaven!” and scrambled away. Sharp laughter rang out behind him.
“Xiao An, granny is speaking to you. Someone has harassed granny.”
No one answered her in the empty hall.
“What? How dare you not listen to granny…” The witch’s face suddenly became vicious, and she launched a series of insults and scolds. She shook a bronze bell in her hand.
A cold wind immediately arose in the room.
A long time later, the witch became gentle once more. “Good, that’s more like it. Granny doesn’t want to hit you either, my good grandson.”
From the beginning till the end, she had only been talking to herself.
Li Qingshan returned to his house. He had no idea where the black ox had run off to. It had probably gone to hunt for him again.
Using his high spirits from drinking, he began to practise the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength again. He had already become as familiar as he could with the basic stance of the three forms, so his body moved automatically. He thought about everything he had gone through today. Something that seemed so terrifying was actually so flimsy. If he had fled out of fear when he was in front of caretaker Liu’s house, how was he supposed to realise the façade of the entire situation.
Regarding this matter, his true opponent was not caretaker Liu or village head Li, but the fear in his heart. What was true strength? The Dao De Jing had already provided an answer to that question. “Those who dominate others are strong, but those who overcome themselves have strength.”
“The courageous are fearless!” Li Qingshan roared out these four words as if he had overcome an invisible barrier. His movements suddenly gained an indomitable aura. No matter what difficulties or dangers lay ahead, he would overcome them with his head held high. He would never lower his head and retreat.
There are no gods watching over up above. I am the god. Justice does not lie in the hearts of people. It lies in my hands.
In his limbs, chest, and abdomen, every single muscle across his body seemed to be linked together by this determination. He could unleash the strength of his entire body through a single punch. He had a feeling that even if he did not use a weapon, he was confident about defeating Li Hu and Li Bao together in a direct confrontation right now.