Chapter 463 – The Son of Heaven’s Aura Observation, the Battle Begins
Ye Liusu and the others were all confused. They were on the brink of battle, so how could he not participate as the force they relied on the most?
“I’ve agreed to a battle with Fu Qingjin. We’re fighting on the fifth of the fifth month. Before this, I won’t partake in any battles in order to condition myself. Fu Qingjin will do the same. You’ll have to rely on yourselves for this battle. The spoils you receive will obviously all go to you.”
Only then did everyone understand the reason. They were filled with both joy and worry as they became uncertain as for how to react.
Large-scale, open conflict was different from ambushes and assassinations. Facing human cultivators in a direct confrontation obviously came with extremely great risk. However, the benefits they would receive from each human cultivator they killed was just as tempting.
After telling them that, Li Qingshan turned his back on the night roamers and returned to his dwelling, only to see Milliped curled up on the stone bed. Winter had clearly passed already, yet this guy was still hibernating. He was having the time of his life by sleeping every day.
Li Qingshan’s tense mind eased up. He smiled. “Even if you cultivate for another few centuries, it won’t make a difference if you continue like this. No wonder you’re so simple.” He patted Milliped’s tough carapace on his head as he thought to himself, I have to find a suitable daemon core for you this time.
Before long, Ye Liusu and Ye Liubo arrived together. Li Qingshan asked, “You’re done discussing?”
“Yes. We’re still going to focus on attacking spiritual stone mines. Killing regular people and becoming enemies with the Great Xia empire brings no benefit at all.”
“As long as you understand that.” Li Qingshan smiled. He did not want to run into his subordinates on the battlefield either.
“However, I’m just afraid they won’t submit to me.” A sliver of worry appeared on Ye Liusu’s delicate face. She paled in comparison to them when it came to both strength and seniority. If he were present, then even the matriarchs would not act up, but if he were not there, it would be difficult to say.
“That’ll be up to you then.”
Li Qingshan was indifferent. The only people he was somewhat attached to among the night roamers were the two standing right before him, or more accurately, it was just Ye Liubo alone.
Ye Liusu was a very impressive subordinate, but her loyalty to him would never surpass her loyalty to her ideals. As a matter of fact, Li Qingshan even suspected her to be Fu Qingjin’s informer.
Among all the night roamers, she was probably the one who had the most contact with human cultivators, and she possessed such a good understanding about the news above ground. However, without any proper evidence and without suffering from any actual evidence, Li Qingshan could not be bothered with looking into this.
If Ye Liusu died, Li Qingshan would feel pity and a little sadness, but he would not be too sorrowful. He would just be losing a capable subordinate. However, Ye Liubo was different.
“Liubo, if you don’t want to go, you can just stay back!” Li Qingshan looked at Ye Liubo, and his gaze became much softer.
Both Ye Liubo’s strength and brains were nowhere close to her elder sister’s, but her loyalty towards him was unmatched. She had even tried sacrificing herself for him in the past. As a result, he spoilt her very much. Even if he would be questioned, he would still want her to remain somewhere safe.
“Thank you, master, but I want to lend my elder sister a hand.” Ye Liubo was extremely touched, but after a moment of hesitation, that was still what she decided on.
“As you wish, but do be careful. Take these talismans to protect yourself. They aren’t for fighting, so don’t use them without good reason.” Li Qingshan took out a few scarlet talismans and handed them to Ye Liubo.
“Master,” Ye Liubo murmured before directly throwing herself into Li Qingshan’s arms.
“Liusu, take good care of her.” Li Qingshan patted Ye Liubo’s plump bottom.
“I will.” Ye Liusu replied. She actually felt slightly envious of this affection he showed, and she even felt a hint of jealousy that she refused to admit.
With the Spider Queen’s order, the cold, desolate underground seemed to become the churning lava. It gradually began to rise up and surge.
Under Bloodshadow and Dragonsnail’s lead, basically every daemon joined in on this operation. They were prepared for a massacre above ground.
At the same time, in Clear River city.
The moon demon had paid a visit, but the meeting still came to a proper end.
The first order they issued together was not directed towards daemons. Instead, it was directed to the handful of clans and sects that had not even joined the alliance. Some of these Foundation Establishment cultivators had constantly been maneuvering around between the two sides, remaining uninvolved with the entire matter.
“These orders cannot be disobeyed. You have one day to report to the prefectural city, or your sects and clans will be destroyed! The world will no longer tolerate your existence!”
The machines of war assembled by all the cultivators in the Clear River prefecture sprang alive, ready to enter battle.
Liu Zhangqing returned to his government office. He washed up and changed his clothes, changing out of the confucian robes he often wore into his robes as an official that he rarely wore. He took out his official’s seal bestowed to him by the empire.
On a large square in front of the office, the mohist disciples busied about, taking out various machines and constructing a tower as quickly as possible.
When Liu Zhangqing emerged from his office, the tower had already reached over three hundred meters tall, plunging into the clouds. Raising his head and looking up, it seemed to tilt, as if it could collapse at any time.
He took in a deep breath and made his way towards the tower. Step by step, he climbed to the platform on the very top. The entire prefectural city sat below his feet as a group of birds flew past him.
Liu Zhangqing cast his gaze to a place even further away. The Divine Talisman of Great Virtue within him suddenly shone with resplendent light. He seemed to become a burning torch as his eyes suddenly erupted with light.
The landscape vanished, turning into blurry mist. The city below his feet vanished, turning into wisp-like smoke and rising straight up into the air like a beacon.
The beacon of smoke became smaller and smaller. Liu Zhangqing felt like his soul was rising towards the endless sky. Even more beacons of smoke rose up in the horizon, appearing in his view. They were of various different colours and sizes, but none of them were as large as the beacon of smoke that Clear River city had become.
Finally, Liu Zhangqing spotted thousands of beacons, forming a rough outline of the entire prefecture.
Every single beacon represented a city, village, or settlement where humans gathered.
The Fortune Viewing technique was a secret technique that had existed since ancient times. Not only was it a technique for sensing and investigation, but it also had an element of divination. It could see the fortunes of people, and it had almost become a lost technique to this day.
What Liu Zhangqing used was not this Fortune Viewing technique, or he would have never been able to see all fifteen hundred kilometers of the Clear River prefecture. Instead, he used the renowned “Son of Heaven’s Technique of Aura Observation ”.
TL: Not sure if you can tell, but in chinese, the Technique of Aura Observation and Fortune Viewing technique are the same, but the semantics vary drastically. The Chinese is “望气术”, where “望” means seeing/observing/viewing and “术” means technique. “气” in the Fortune Viewing technique refers to “气运”, which is karmic fortune/fate, while in the Technique of Aura Observation, it refers to qi/aura/presence. If you can’t tell already, single characters like “气” can mean a lot of different things in Chinese.
When the founding emperor founded the Great Xia empire, becoming revered as the son of heaven and leading humanity to prosperity, he was also tasked with the responsibility of governing his citizens. However, with the nine provinces stretching several hundred thousand kilometers in all directions, governance was anything but easy, so he created this “Son of Heaven’s Technique of Aura Observation”. He could see far as long as he had a high vantage point, allowing him to see the situation of the nine provinces.
The “aura” referred to the aura of the living, which was also the aura of humanity.
If the many nobles and lords allowed kind heartedness and justice to spread, if they administered and governed harmoniously, then humanity would prosper, and this “aura” would strengthen, which was what they wanted.
If they mismanaged their citizens and led them to poverty, then this “aura” would decline as a result. The son of heaven would then summon his subjects from their various lands to reprimand and punish them.
With Liu Zhangqing’s identity, he would obviously never claim to be the son of heaven. He could not even call it the “Lord’s Technique of Aura Observation.” It was only a “Prefect’s Technique of Aura Observation”.
However, only Liu Zhangqing who had been recognised as the prefect by the empire could use this technique, and all he could do was observe the prefecture. However, it followed the same principle as the “Son of Heaven’s Technique of Aura Observation”.
He had no need to visit the various lands to check on the various district magistrates. All he had to do was perform a single, routine aura observation every year from the prefectural city, and he would be able to punish or reward the district magistrates accordingly.
Liu Zhangqing cast his gaze out and could not help but sigh. The “aura” for basically everywhere was in decline. Resentment was surging with the aura of many places directly vanishing, which represented it was no longer occupied by humans.
If it were not for the war, the Marquis of Ruyi only needed a single glance from a vantage point, and he would dismiss him from the position of prefect immediately.
He dismissed his thoughts and focused on observing the movements across the entire prefecture. He would be able to make a timely response no matter which city the daemons attacked.
After who knew how long, a beacon of smoke in the south-east direction shuddered and began to weaken. With each sliver that vanished, it represented the deaths of countless lives. The smoke was filled with a sensation of fear too.
Liu Zhangqing had familiarised himself with the human geography of the Clear River prefecture a long time ago. He immediately said, “Great Gold pass has daemons attacking!” Before he had even finished, a beacon of smoke in the north rapidly began to decline.
Before long, several dozen beacons began to tremble, covering all directions of the prefecture.
There was a saying that the wrath of the son of heaven could dye a thousand kilometers scarlet. The Spider Queen’s order could not be defied. She was not joking when she said she wanted a hundred cities slaughtered.
Liu Zhangqing’s heart sank. He reported a string of location names without stopping.
“Han Tieyi, Hua Chengzan, venture to Great Gold pass. Once you arrive, immediately report back on the daemons. If they’re weak, kill them. If they’re strong, retreat. Do not become entangled in battle.”
Under the tall tower, Han Anjun also issued a string of orders, and Foundation Establishment cultivators rose up, rushing off in all directions. Regardless of their reputation, they could only serve as chess pieces now.
The people in the city had all locked their doors and windows.
On the square, the Qi Practitioners circled around the tower a few times outside, watching this unfold in shock. At a time like this, they did not even have the right to be used as chess pieces. However, as the flames of war spread, no one would be able to remain uninvolved.
The situations seemed severe, but it was just a probing process right now. They would mobilise their troops properly after understanding the direction of attack of the daemons.
In the beginning, Han Anjun would go into some detail with the instructions, but towards the end, he would only say a name and a location.
“Li Qingshan, Nine Rivers city.” When he mentioned Li Qingshan’s name, Han Anjun paused slightly and stared at him deeply.
Li Qingshan said nothing. He drew the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility and rode off on it, concealing himself.
It had finally begun.
Near dusk in the wilderness that had been dyed red by the setting sun, a lonely antelope grazed on the grass with its head lowered below a small hill.
Perhaps because it was late spring, the delicious taste of the grass made it drop its guard. It had completely failed to notice a pair of orangey-yellow eyes staring at it from a bush nearby. Under the descending night, the eyes shone with a green glow.
The panther lowered itself even further to the ground, approaching the antelope silently. The antelope seemed to sense something and raised its head, but it was already too late. The panther’s powerful body pounced out from the bush with lightning speed, landing on the antelope. Its canines plunged into its neck, making it take its last breath.
Just as the panther enjoyed the delicious food it had caught, there was a rumble, and even the ground shook slightly, followed by another rumble. It was getting closer. The panther sensed danger, but it was reluctant to abandon the prey it had just caught.
The setting sun near the horizon turned the hill into a glowing outline. Suddenly, a huge shadow passed over the hill, which shrouded out the setting sun and crushed the panther to pieces like a mountain.