Chapter 527 – Just Let Them Be
The thick clouds shifted northward, sprinkling everywhere they passed by with snow.
Heavy snow drifted across Moon Court lake.
“Moon demon, are you bold enough to face me in battle?”
A tremendous voice descended from above, rolling like thunder as it kicked up great waves.
Wen Zhengming’s long robes ruffled in the wind and snow. It was very difficult to believe that a voice like that could come from such a skinny and small chest unless one witnessed it in person.
He scanned the surface of the lake attentively and thought through his plan again. He would be responsible for issuing a challenge at the beginning and drawing the moon demon out of the lake before showing weakness and retreating in defeat, fleeing for his life through the air. In the end, his three senior brothers would join the battle, and the four of them would work together and cast the Sword Formation of the Four Seasons. The moon demon would then be done for, with only death as his escape.
The plan did not sound particularly complicated. It was just provoking and agitating the enemy, misleading the enemy with a false impression of weakness, faking a hurried retreat, before unleashing an encirclement of ambushes. They were all common strategies the school of the Military used.
However, plans were not necessarily better the more complicated they were. The more complicated a plan was, the more that could go wrong. The crux of the issue was still about who used it and what kind of opponent they were using it against.
The various matters of the past indicated the moon demon would always strike back viciously against challenges. He should have been the same this time. Once he began fighting, he would be stepping into a trap!
But a while later, heavy snow continued to drift across the lake, yet Northmoon was nowhere to be seen.
Wen Zhengming came up with an idea and arrived outside the central island. The island was shrouded in heavy mist that was as thick as milk. It was impossible to make out the island.
Don’t tell me he just happens to not be in Moon Court lake? These night roamers are all his subordinates. If I attack there, I’ll definitely be able to force him out.
Wen Zhengming pressed his hand against the hilt of his sword and became slightly more cautious. He passed through the thick mist slowly, but he did not sense any attacks, nor did he run into any obstructing formations. He made it onto the island as easy as that.
The scenery there was the same as before. The buildings rising and falling constantly, but there was not a single shadow to be seen, nor was there any aura. The entire place had been evacuated already.
Wen Zhengming never expected to run into something like this. After a moment of consideration, he informed his three senior brothers. Another three figures descended from above, kicking a few piles of accumulated snow into the air. After seeing the situation on the island, they also frowned.
“Junior brother Wen, what is this all about?”
Wen Zhengming said, “Looks like the moon demon is no longer here, and he’s evacuated all the otherfolk.”
“No, he definitely won’t just abandon his position as a water god. The Water God Seal cannot leave the region of water for too long. He’s definitely still in Moon Court lake. He probably caught wind of us, which was why he hid beforehand. We can’t be careless. It’s very likely for Ink Sea to send other wretched daemons to support him.”
“The plan is already useless. All we can do is take on a little more risk and search for him in the water!”
“If the four of us work together, what danger will there be unless the Dragon King of Ink Sea personally intervenes?” the talented scholar in white said proudly, “As long as he doesn’t flee the moment he sees us, we have a seventy percent chance at killing him on the spot.”
A mere obstruction of water posed no obstacle to the four of them at all. They were about to dive into Moon Court lake and carry out their search.
“Hold on, someone is spying on us!”
The scholar in white’s expression changed. He had the highest cultivation, vaguely serving as the leader of the four.
The other three sensed it too. Wen Zhengming said, “It must be Northmoon, that wretched daemon. Can we locate him?”
The scholar in white closed his eyes before shaking his head gently a while later. He sensed that the entire shoreline was spying on them. They were unable to accurately determine the moon demon’s location.
All of this was clearly reflected in the Watermirror disc.
Li Qingshan sat with his legs crossed and the Watermirror disc placed over his knees. He currently resided deep underground, within a twisted river that branched from the main flow.
The place was extremely well-hidden, but to Golden Core cultivators, they could still find him with their senses of auras even if he were hidden beneath the earth.
However, Li Qingshan’s body did not give off even the slightest aura. He had merged with the flowing water.
He seemed to have become a spirit turtle, diving to the depths of the seas. No one could find him and all the disputes of the world had nothing to do with him. He only waited for the passage of time, for the seas to be replaced with land.
Li Qingshan had practised the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression for many years now, but this was the first time he had behaved in accordance with the spirit turtle’s nature. He came to a slight comprehension.
The strongest aspect of the spirit turtle was not for battles against others, but pursuing good fortune and avoiding calamities.
Originally, he had been troubled over failing to come up with a way to deal with the combined attack of the four grandmasters, but now, he suddenly discovered that by taking a step back, the world was his. No matter how powerful the four grandmasters were, it would be useless if they could not find him. At the end of the day, they were the ones wasting time, not him.
Realising that, his aura became more and more obscure, basically ungraspable.
Even if someone with a higher cultivation stood right before him, they would struggle to sense his existence once they closed their eyes. Even if they used their soul sense, it would only glide past him and overlook him.
As a result, their first search was destined to end in failure.
Around dusk, they met up on the island again. Their complexions were rather ugly.
Moon Court lake was already so vast and the moon demon had dug out countless rivers and branches, with most of them leading to the complicated underground. Yet, they were unable to sense even a hint of daemon qi, so they were afraid to let any affluent slip by.
Even after spending an entire day, the four of them had yet to search through all the water. With such a wide region, finding the moon demon was as difficult as finding a needle in the ocean.
Moon Court lake was obviously not as large as the ocean, but the issue was the moon demon would not stay put like a needle either. He would not wait for them to come find him. Clearly, as long as they approached where he was hiding, he would immediately change his position.
As a result, even if they went over the place like a fine-toothed comb, it would all be useless.
And, in the water, their soul senses were already suppressed. If they ventured underground, they would have to deal with the influence of the underground magnetic field too, shrinking their searching range to something extremely small.
“If this continues, we’ll probably never find where the moon demon is.”
“The wretched daemon truly is despicable!”
Wen Zhengming’s face was completely sunken. Originally, he had come with complete confidence to purge daemons and avenge his disciple, but he actually ended up with nothing.
After that, the tip of the scholar in white’s ears twitched. He heard the unnatural flow of water near the shore in the south-western direction. He rushed over in a flash while the other three followed closely behind.
The surface of the lake for that region had suddenly become as flat as a mirror. A series of words appeared.
“You four big dumbos, you want to harass the weak and the outnumbered. If you have the balls, come at me one at a time. Watch as your grandfather Northmoon, skins you alive!”
Wen Zhengming conveyed secretly, “Senior brother, can you use this as a lead to find the moon demon?”
The scholar in white shook his head. Having become a water god, the moon demon had virtually merged with Moon Court lake. He could control the water here like it was his limb. With the statement alone, it was far too difficult to find where he was.
He came up with an idea. “Alright. Moon demon, I’ll come alone then. Let’s see what you can do to me! Junior brothers, please leave for now. I’ll try the moon demon alone!”
Wen Zhengming and the other two exchanged glances. If it were their senior brother, then preventing the moon demon from escaping for a moment or two was nothing difficult at all. By then, they could rush back and provide assistance. That way, they would still be able to kill the moon demon.
The scholar in white dove into the water again. An arrow floated before him to indicate the direction. He beamed with joy inside. The moon demon was conceited and battle-hungry. Sure enough, he was unable to help himself, wanting to clash with them. This was his greatest weakness.
He followed the arrow and arrived before a cavern. Another line of words appeared.
“Are you really alone?”
The scholar in white said proudly, “Of course. Just me alone is enough to kill you.”
The words dispersed with a ripple, turning into three words, “This way please.”
Under the guidance of the water arrow, the scholar in white constantly ventured deeper underground. As he advanced through the twisting and turning underground river, he was amazed by the complexity of the underground geography. If the moon demon had not revealed an opening himself, finding him truly would be difficult.
After travelling for a while, he suddenly sensed that something was amiss. He recalled the path he had already travelled.
Aren’t I going in circles?
At this moment, another line of words appeared in the water, “Are you certain you’re alone?”
The scholar in white gritted his teeth. “Feel free to check for yourself. What, are you afraid?”
The scholar in white continued on his way until he approached the end of an underground river. An extremely spacious cavern appeared before him.
He contacted his three junior brothers, telling them to prepare themselves as he called out loudly, “Moon demon, I’m here!”
As he said that, he barged into the cavern. He blanked out. There was absolutely no one there, only a huge word that stretched several meters across, “Idiot!”
The scholar in white had basically spent two hours only to receive a single-word evaluation like that. No matter how shrewd he was, no matter cultured he was, he still found it rather unbearable. With a palm strike, he shattered the word “idiot”.
The water flowed rapidly and turned into another three words.
Li Qingshan had not placed all of his focus onto Moon Court lake. Instead, he split some of his focus to spy on the four grandmasters, or use his clone to toy around with them.
His original body had already returned to the Chain mountains by now, contemplating how to merge with the power in the phoenix feather.
As the four grandmasters whittled away their time and found absolutely nothing, he was seizing every moment to cultivate in an attempt to become stronger.
He had drained the spiritual qi of the water regions with the Water God Seal recently, so now was perfect for giving them time to recover.
Li Qingshan had already grown accustomed to the ox demon’s resolve and the tiger demon’s endless fighting. Retreating to avoid conflict and hiding away had originally been actions he would take when he had no other choice, but only now did he discover the spirit turtle’s approach; as it turned out, it had quite the wisdom behind it.
Strong like the wind? Just let them be. I will be like the mountain they blow on. Insolent like the moon? Just let them be. I will be like the river they shine on.
TL: This is a poem that comes from the novel Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre by Louis Cha. It is the mantra of the Jiuyang Zhenjing, the martial arts manual that the main character, Zhang Wuji, practises. The raws actually do not include the entire mantra, so I’ve adjusted the poem slightly so it conveys the correct meaning. I personally think this is a fantastic translation of the entire poem, which is also what I’ve worked off of:
You can read more about the novel and the martial arts manual here:
Over the next few days, the four grandmasters used various different methods in an attempt to find Li Qingshan, but it all ended in failure. They even tried using the weakest out of the four, Wen Zhengming, as bait to lure Li Qingshan into fighting.
Li Qingshan obviously ignored them. He placed all of his attention on the phoenix feather.
Three days later, the four grandmasters retreated. Even Wen Zhengming who was eager for revenge did not remain behind.
Golden Core cultivators had lengthy lifespans, but they could not be wasted away like this.
If they ran around wildly in the water like headless flies, then they really would be no different from idiots.