Chapter 330 – The Battle for Cloudwisp Island
Tap, tap, tap. A cane struck the ground again and again. An old man of advanced age walked in with a hunched back with the support of a young man. His face had already waned to a rather horrifying extent. Only his eyes still seemed to shine.
Li Qingshan had never seen a person so frail from old age. He believed that if it were not for his peak Foundation Establishment cultivation, he would have been reduced to a pile of buried bones a long time ago.
“I’m Chu Shidao. Greetings to you all.” Chu Shidao pushed aside the young man and released his cane, bowing to everyone.
Everyone stood up and bowed back. Even earth elder Huang was no longer able to take advantage of his seniority. He placed down his pipe and said to Liu Zhangqing, “You’ve actually invited great master Chu here. Are you planning on having great master Chu take over as a school leader?”
Chu Shidao was not an individual obscure to the public. He possessed great renown throughout the entire Ruyi commandery. There was not a single person who would not gasp in admiration over his painting ability. It was an extremely great honour to be in possession of one of his paintings. However, it was rumored that he was close to the end of his life now, and he had stopped painting already, retiring from public view as a hermit. They never expected him to actually appear here.
“I’ll be honest with you all. My life is already close to its end, so I’m afraid I can’t occupy the position of school leader for very long. By then, my little disciple will take over. Danqing, why don’t you bow to the various seniors?”
Only then did the school leaders find out that Chu Shidao had come here to guide the delicate young man beside him. He only seemed to be seventeen or eighteen years old, but his cultivation had already reached the tenth layer. He was definitely worthy of being evaluated as a “genius”.
They had heard quite a long time ago that Chu Shidao had accepted his final disciple. He had vanished for an entire decade in order to teach this disciple of his. Now that they saw him today, it turned out to be true.
There were no objections. If a person like him was willing to join the Academy of the Hundred Schools of the Clear River prefecture and establish a school of Painting, it would be the academy’s honour. And, they had heard that he had many indirect disciples, who could make up for the academy’s loss of strength.
They added a seat below Liu Chuanfeng. This was probably the one and only time Liu Chuanfeng would have the upper hand.
However, the ownership of Cloudwisp island would not be decided so easily.
When Liu Chuanfeng heard how they wanted to take his foundations away from him, he began to panic too. “Cloudwisp island, for the past millennium, has always been my school of Novels’ island. We’ve tended to it and protected it for all those years. We’re losing it just because I made a slight mistake? That’s completely unreasonable.”
The various school leaders began to differ slightly in opinion too, but obviously not because of the useless Liu Chuanfeng. Instead, it was because of Li Qingshan who stood behind him.
Li Qingshan had mocked himself over what he had gone through this time, but in the eyes of the school leaders, he was a true genius with a brilliant future ahead of him. There was nothing they could complain about over both his cultivation speed and strength in battle. He had even been personally summoned by her yesterday. They could not oppress or neglect someone like him without proper thought.
Liu Zhangqing began to show signs of anger. “This is not all. You know exactly what those dirty works of yours you wrote in the past entail.”
The One Thought master said, “I’m afraid that would be an inappropriate reason. Although we have always disagreed with school leader Liu’s actions, not only has he stopped writing those obscene books in the past half a year, but he has recalled them all and destroyed them too, which only demonstrates his change. Regular people aren’t sages. Everyone makes mistakes. There is nothing better than changing for the better after a mistake. Please reconsider, school leader Liu!”
Liu Chuanfeng was strangely touched. “Thank you for speaking for me, master.” Right now, no one cherished his pen name of the Master of Wind and Moon more than him. After understanding the true path of the school of Novels, he had recalled all those books with complete willingness.
The One Thought master glanced at Xiao An. “This was all your own work.”
“This lowly daoist also feels that master Chu shouldn’t be in such a hurry to usurp another’s island!” The slovenly daoist priest spoke too, agreeing with the One Thought master for once. You already have a foot in the grave, yet you still want to flaunt about in our academy? How despicable.
To Liu Zhangqing’s surprise, even Wang Pushi and Han Anjun objected. Out of the five major schools, actually four of them disagreed with him.
No matter how much renown Chu Shidao had, no matter how high his cultivation was, he was still an “outsider”. If he wanted to usurp someone the moment he arrived in the academy, then it was extremely easy for others to repulse him.
Li Qingshan’s relationship with them played an extremely subtle role too. Ever since he joined the school of Novels, combined with Liu Chuanfeng’s own hard work, the opinion on the school of Novels had indeed been changing bit by bit unknowingly. Although it was still a pile of mud, at least it was worth supporting. Otherwise, who in their right state of mind would speak for a person who wrote smut?
Chu Shidao said, “Forgive my ignorance, but since when could a Qi Practitioner hold the position of school leader? And since when could a school possess a single disciple?”
Liu Chuanfeng was speechless. Cultivation would always be the most important standard for measuring a cultivator. This also happened to be his greatest flaw.
“I’ll be able to undergo the heavenly tribulation before long.”
Chu Shidao said, “And before long, I’ll depart from this world too. I’ve heard about the wonders of the school of Novels for a very long time now, about how you can turn make-believe into reality. That just happens to be what my school of Painting is capable of too. Why don’t we compete against one another and use that to decide the ownership of Cloudwisp island?”
Why would Liu Chuanfeng be bold enough to compete against a Foundation Establishment cultivator? He wanted to shirk away from the request.
“I won’t harass you just because you’re weaker. It’s not a good idea for school leaders to clash too.” Chu Shidao’s gaze suddenly turned towards Li Qingshan. “This must be your disciple!”
“I’m Li Qingshan. Greetings, great master Chu.”
“I’ve long heard about how you’re good with battles, and your abilities as a Body Practitioner are startling. Are you bold enough to compete against my disciple?”
“May I ask how we would compete?” Li Qingshan glanced at Chu Danqing.
“Paintings and novels are both matters for the refined. If painters and authors were to fight with their hands and feet, it would be far too tasteless, so why don’t we just take a step back and turn make-believe into reality? My disciple will produce a painting, while you will produce a novel. We’ll let the characters in the painting and novel decide it all. What do you think? Cloudwisp island will go to whoever wins.”
Even the various school leaders present had never heard of a battle like this, but they also felt like Chu Shidao was completely brushing aside their opinions.
Liu Chuanfeng shot a glance at Li Qingshan, wanting him to turn down the challenge. There were so many school leaders on their side right now, so why would they accept the challenge?
Li Qingshan never planned on agreeing anyway. If it were just a battle of martial prowess, he was confident in himself even though Chu Danqing was at the tenth layer. However, he had absolutely no confidence in a battle like this. This old man had some understanding of him, so he wanted to use his weakness against him. How was it possible for him to fall for this?
“If you still won’t agree to this, then all I can do is write to the Academy of the Hundred Schools in the Ruyi commandery to request for the dismissal of the Clear River prefecture’s school of Novels, no matter how embarrassing or awkward it will be!” Chu Shidao tapped his cane against the ground heavily, displaying his unswerving determination. “This is just too tasteless, which is why I’m reluctant to do so.”
All the school leaders understood why Chu Shidao’s attitude was so firm. These were definitely not empty threats. He came from the commandery city of Ruyi. If he wanted to use his connections to dismiss the school of Novels that had a Qi Practitioner as a school leader and a single disciple, it would be a piece of cake. Most importantly, the school leaders present had once submitted a request to dismiss the school of Novels in writing together. Perhaps Chu Shidao only needed a slight push, and he could get what he wanted.
By then, surely they could not submit another request together to protect the school of Novels instead!
Liu Chuanfeng paled silently. He had some understanding of Chu Shidao’s influence too. The school of Novels had just set its foot on the right path and was developing, so if they really were dismissed, all their hard work would go to waste. And, he would never give up on the ancestral property that was Cloudwisp island. He looked towards Li Qingshan in a pleading manner.
Li Qingshan said, “Alright, I’ll agree to it. However, the school of Novels is unlike the school of Painting that can complete a work in a stroke of a brush. We require time to propagate so that we can collect the power of belief. Only then can we turn make-believe into reality. I can produce a novel, but I need a year at the very least to propagate it.”
“A year is too long.”
“Anyways, I need time. If great master Chu refuses to agree to this, then there’s no need for all of this. Please write to the Ruyi commandery for our school of Novels’ dismissal.”
In the end, under Liu Zhangqing’s mediation, they agreed on six months.
Chu Shidao had his reasons for this too. He had already displeased the school masters for wanting to usurp Liu Chuanfeng. If he pushed even harder, he would probably infuriate them all. He had already gained a deep understanding of the school of Novel’s ins and outs beforehand too.
Li Qingshan had already published a book, but the book was about a fictitious story of the jianghu. It could not rival Danqing’s painting. As a result, he would be forced to publish a new book, which would take a few months at the very least. Even if he managed to publish it in time, there would not be enough time to propagate it, preventing him from gathering sufficient power of belief. By then, it would be absolutely nothing of importance.
They dispersed. Chu Shidao and Chu Danqing went with Liu Zhangqing to take residence in the school of Confucianism.
Li Qingshan and Liu Chuanfeng returned to Cloudwisp island, discussing how they were supposed to fight back.
Liu Chuanfeng was frantic. “Oh no, it’s just six moths. How is that enough? You’ve agreed too hastily.”
Li Qingshan said, “If I didn’t agree, are you supposed to come up with some other idea?”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “Quickly. I’ll grind the ink for you, so go write quickly. Forget it, why don’t I just edit that novel of yours, considering it hasn’t reached the shelves yet? Wielding the Dragon-slaying sabre, Zhang Wuji split open the Bright peak in a single stroke, stunning the cultivators of the six great sects. Cheng Kun planted twelve World-destroying Hunyuan Thunderbolt bombs under Shaolin temple, wanting to destroy all the cultivators. How’s that?”
Li Qingshan was taken aback. He could not help but admire Liu Chuanfeng’s quick wit. He really had not thought of this idea in the beginning, turning a wuxia novel of low fantasy into one of high fantasy and increasing the power level by at least ten times over.
“Then how are you supposed to change the part when they’re adrift at sea? You can’t trap cultivators on an island!”
“Don’t be stupid. Beyond the nine provinces is the Boundless ocean. If you went there right now, you definitely won’t be able to return! How it’s written still depends on us novelists, right?”
Li Qingshan thought about it, “Then you edit it!”
With his permission, Liu Chuanfeng was overjoyed. He rushed off.
Li Qingshan shook his head. He was thinking of another idea. Liu Chuanfeng’s idea was obviously a good one, but he might not be able to gather so much power of belief.
In his past life, novels had initially been serialised in newspapers before being propagated through various television adaptations, which was why it could achieve so much popularity. Rome was not built in six months.
Even if he changed it into destroying the nine provinces in a single stroke, so what? If he could not gather enough power of belief, all it would be was more bark than bite even if he could conjure it. After all, he had to consider the natural limitations of the Divine Talisman of Great Creation.
Li Qingshan returned to his room and unfurled a piece of white paper. He got to work, continuing with the plan he had thought of. He was preparing himself for both possibilities.
These stories should be able to gather extremely pure power of belief rapidly.