Chapter 522 – The Broken Sword, the Pill, and the Choice
The intense battle over Moon Court lake had alarmed all the settlements in its surroundings.
In particular, the fishermen who lived on their boats suddenly felt like they were in free fall. They darted into their cabins in fear and surprise, only to see the surface of the lake had suddenly fallen by a feet. A colossal hand composed of water reached into the air from the centre of the lake.
“Grandfather lake god is angry!”
Shock and fear was written across all of their faces. Someone bellowed out with that and everyone dropped to their knees, constantly lowering their heads.
On a small, stone bridge near the shore, a person stood alone as his green student’s robes drifted in the air.
Fu Qingjin pressed his hand against his sword and stared ahead. “Northmoon, have you already become like this?”
A few months ago, deep into autumn, on Benevolence island, by the Lake of Dragons and Snakes.
A lonely figure held a broken sword, sitting on the shore alone. There was no Green Ruins Illusion, nor was there a dangling thread.
“Why’s this Fu Qingjin acting like he’s lost his wits!?” Hua Chenglu arrived on Benevolence island to check on a Hawkwolf guard who had been injured during a mission. She spotted Fu Qingjin’s figure from afar.
Yu Zijian said, “Shh, Chenglu, be quieter. Don’t let him hear you.”
The conversation reached his ears clearly, but he behaved like he had not heard it at all. He stared at the severed edge of the Green Ruins sword. What had been severed was not just the edge, but all connections with the outside world.
The Daemon Suppression alliance had already become a matter of the past. Gradually, no one visited him anymore.
The Sword Collection palace neither punished him nor called him back. He only received two distant words from his master. “Take care.” It was two simple words, yet it left him stumped no matter how hard he thought about it.
His wounds had recovered a long time ago, but he had no idea where to go, so he simply stayed here. He remained in this foreign land like a lone soul.
“You don’t have a line, so how are you going to fish?”
The sound of footsteps grew closer and a voice rang. It was Yu Zijian. Fu Qingjin did not turn around, nor did he answer her.
In the past, he had once believed fate bound him to this young girl because of the Green Ruins sword. Now that the sword was broken, the tie no longer existed. No matter how he looked at her, she was merely a regular woman. Perhaps she really did have the talent to inherit the Violet Clouds sword, but what did that have to do with him?
Yu Zijian remembered how she was like in the past and let out a faint sigh, but her gaze had never been so calm and distant before. She asked a question, “Is this sword really that important to you?”
Fu Qingjin remained as silent as a rock.
“Zijian, let’s go!”
“Coming!” Yu Zijian turned around and answered. Then she said to Fu Qingjin, “Someone had once told me that dilemmas will always exist in the world, and we always have to make choices. Nothing is perfect.”
It was a simple word of advice, but it shot through Fu Qingjin’s head like inspiration. The hand that held his sword trembled slightly. Only after Yu Zijian had left did he mutter with a voice that only he could hear.
“Nothing is perfect. All glory will be reduced to ruins at the end of the day!”
His master’s voice rang out beside his ear again.
“Qingjin, do you know about the origins of this Green Ruins sword? Our Sword Collection palace had a senior who was originally the monarch of a kingdom. Of course, Great Xia did not exist back then. The nine provinces were still littered with various kingdoms. In order to deal with the threat of an enemy kingdom, he went out in search of help, accidentally entering an immortal’s dwelling and obtaining an immortal’s legacy. He was utterly overjoyed, but by the time he left the dwelling, he discovered several decades had already passed.”
“His family and friends had all passed away, and his kingdom had already fallen to the opposing kingdom a long time ago. He wanted revenge, only to discover that the opposing kingdom had been destroyed in the chaos of war a long time ago too. He was filled with endless melancholy and merged this with the sword. That is the sword intent that the Green Ruins sword possesses. Endless prosperity will all be reduced to ruins one day, covered and hidden away by green moss…”
Fu Qingjin lifted up the Green Ruins sword and said gently, “Even you aren’t able to be an exception?”
The next day, Fu Qingjin left the academy. He passed by every single city that had been destroyed during the war, imagining their former glory. He seemed to have washed off the dust obscuring his eyes. The entire world had become different.
Day by day, the Green Ruins sword remained broken like before, but slivers of green light merged into it.
This time, it was not the sighs of the senior from the ancient times, nor was it the sighs of past masters of the Green Ruins sword. Instead, it was Fu Qingjin’s own comprehension.
After visiting who knew how many cities, he finally understood the Green Ruins sword was not actually broken. In that moment, the Green Ruins sword suddenly erupted with an unprecedented glow, and before he knew it, he was standing in the Green Ruins Illusion again.
A figure stood under the collapsed palace walls in the distance. He turned around and smiled faintly.
He was a rather dignified man. His appearance was very unfamiliar, but his expression was extremely familiar. His aloofness and melancholy had once appeared on his own face countless times.
Fu Qingjin smiled as well. He smiled very brightly, like before he had picked up the Green Ruins sword.
From then onwards, one of the Ten Renowned Swords of the Sword Collection palace became a broken sword.
Having retrieved the Lightning Slaughter sword after so much difficulty, Zhou Tong was cultivating in peace in his dwelling, preparing for his breakthrough to Golden Core. Suddenly, he felt someone touch the formation, and he frowned, stepping out of his dwelling.
Zhou Tong had been slightly angry already. Seeing the visitor, he became very angry. “Fu Qingjin, what brings you here?”
Fu Qingjin opened his hand. A violet pill rested in there.
Zhou Tong’s anger vanished. “That’s an Origin Spirit pill!”
Faced with the incoming hand, Zhou Tong snorted in disdain. With a wave of the Lightning Slaughter sword, he turned into a bolt of lightning and passed through the palm. He moved no slower than Li Qingshan’s wings of wind.
In that moment, an electrical current spread through the water from inside out, lighting up the huge hand. It collapsed loudly like a landslide.
This ox-nose sure is difficult to deal with after the tribulation.
Li Qingshan stabilised himself, and with a shudder, he dispersed the violet electricity. He exhaled deeply and gazed at Zhou Tong in the sky who resembled a god of thunder.
Their gazes clashed and sparks seemed to fly.
With a streak of lightning, Zhou Tong rushed down. The figure of the Lord of Thunder did not seem to be able to keep up with his speed. It fell behind and revealed Zhou Tong’s figure. Electricity crackled around the Lightning Slaughter sword, making the wooden sword of unimpressive appearance glow with blinding light.
Li Qingshan stood on a water dragon and ascended bravely. He clenched his fist firmly as the power of tremors constantly gathered without being released. A ring of black cracks condensed as if he could rip through the space there.
His ear suddenly twitched, and he swung his hand to the side.
The two of them rushed past one another. The lightning shot through in a straight line while the water dragon shattered.
A fist-sized hole appeared in Li Qingshan’s chest. He turned around and bellowed, “Again!”
Zhou Tong turned around. He was unscathed, but he was anything but calm. “Why!?”
“Why what? Stop wasting time, you bastard!”
On the Soaring Dragon ship, Liu Zhangqing said in confusion, “What’s wrong with senior Zhou?”
“Look at the surroundings of the lake. The moon demon was distracted earlier.” Hua Chengzan also experienced indescribable surprise, as well as a hint of admiration.
“Nothing seems to have happened at all, so why would he be distract-” Liu Zhangqing followed Hua Chengzan’s hand and gazed into the distance. He was unable to see anything strange, but his heart suddenly shuddered, and he understood what had happened.
When the lightning dispersed the colossal hand of water and caused it to collapse, it had created a huge pit in the lake, kicking up massive waves several dozen meters in height that spread out in all directions. More accurately, they were no longer merely waves, but tsunamis that would only appear in seas.
Fu Qingjin’s figure vanished from the small stone bridge, standing on a pier by the shore. He gripped his sword, ready to cut down the incoming waves, only to see the waves collapse for no reason. Only then did he lower the Green Ruins sword and gaze into the horizon.
Among the mortals’ cheers of gratitude for the lake god, Fu Qingjin’s expression became rather dazed for a moment.
The settlements on the shore should have been reduced to a mess, but they were perfectly fine instead. Clearly, the moon demon had split his focus to stop the waves during the clash, which allowed Zhou Tong to pierce him with his sword.
On the Soaring Dragon ship, everyone realised this fact. They looked at one another and had no idea what to say.
“Why did you receive my attack when you could have dodged it?”
Without a doubt, Zhou Tong had noticed it much more clearly than everyone else. He did not become complacent at all. In the past when he clashed with Bloodshadow, he had killed an entire city of people with a bolt of lightning. It did bring him some slight discomfort, but under the righteous cause of purging daemons, he felt no shame or regret at all.
But now, he was fighting for the sake of his personal grievance, yet Li Qingshan was instead willing to receive an attack from him in exchange for saving countless lives. Their identities seemed to have reversed. The concept of “purging daemons and demons” no longer seemed so righteous anymore.
“Because I’m willing. Cut the bullshit, let’s go again. You can just treat that as giving you a handicap!”
In the moment earlier, Li Qingshan heard countless calls and cries. Faced with the incoming wave, some people called out something along the lines of, “Save us, grandfather lake god!” There were also crying from children and women. As a result, he used the Water God Seal with a single thought and dispersed the wave.
He was no saint. If this really were a battle where his life could be determined by a single moment, he would have never cared about the fates of mortals. However, if he could save several hundred thousand lives at the cost of receiving a strike, the choice was as clear as day. He did not feel like he had done anything good.
“Forget it. You’ve received a strike from me, so our grievances are settled with that!”
There was nothing else Zhou Tong could say. Suddenly, he let out a deep sigh and turned into a bolt of lightning, flying off on his sword. He arrived on the Soaring Dragon ship. “Sir Liu, this battle is pointless. I will find a way to make it up to you regarding the Watermirror disc.”
If they continued fighting and Li Qingshan had to receive more injuries for the sake of the people near the shore, he really could not afford to embarrass himself like that. Speaking of which, it was not like he was the Marquis of Ruyi. So what if the moon demon had occupied this region of water to cultivate in? What did that have to do with him? Having reached Golden Core, he had already leapt out of the game of chess. There was no need for him to behave like how others wanted him to behave anymore. As for those who stood at the very top, it was not like regular people knew what they wanted anyway.
“As you wish, senior.”
Liu Zhangqing clasped his hands before issuing an order. The Soaring Dragon ship turned around and flew off towards the academy. Basically everyone let out a sigh of relief. The strength Li Qingshan had demonstrated was simply too shocking. He could basically contend with Golden Core cultivators, and with a geographic advantage, even Zhou Tong might not necessarily be able to defeat him. This would be for the best for everyone.
From this day onwards, there were no longer any cultivators in the Clear River prefecture who were stupid enough to declare war against the moon demon anymore.
“What a strange one!”
Li Qingshan rubbed his chin. With a surge of daemon qi, the wound on his chest recovered rapidly. It was absolutely nothing compared to his battle with Lolth.
Suddenly, he detected a familiar aura. He looked over, and his gaze became extremely hostile, spotting the green figure on the pier immediately.