Chapter 532 – Lord of the Clear River Waters (One)
Among the mountains, a spring let out a trickle. No one would have thought it was the source of the great Clear river.
The meltwater and the clear springs of the mountains merged with it, droplet by droplet.
As the water meandered through the mountains, it grew larger and larger, twisting and surging, advancing without stop.
Originally, Li Qingshan could only fly above the water. Afterwards, he directly leapt into the water and his daemon qi permeated from his body, enveloping the entire flow.
He knew that time was tight. With a tense heart, he pushed the Water God Seal as hard as he could, using every bit of daemon qi to refine the river water.
The process should have taken an extremely long time, long enough for the Ruyi commandery to respond in time and easily destroy his wild ambitions. However, when he refined water with his original body, he moved with startling speed.
When regular daemons refined bodies of water, they were like common people rising in a revolution. It would take them tremendous physical and mental efforts to carry out. Only then could they gradually sweep across the entire world.
Wherever the spirit turtle passed by, it was like the arrival of the blessed son of heaven in person. All of the water would automatically submit to it.
Pushing forward, he left the Boundless mountains very quickly. If he continued, he would arrive in an area littered with human activity. It would probably be very difficult to fool the cultivators of the Clear River prefecture with his actions. If they actually come to stop him, they would pose quite a large issue.
Once he was delayed and the Marquis of Ruyi responded, probably even more and even stronger Golden Core cultivators would immediately rush over.
Let’s see who dares to get in my way!
“Oh no! Sir, the moon demon is refining the waters of the Clear river!”
In the Academy of the Hundred Schools within the Lake of Dragons and Snakes, the news reached Liu Zhangqing’s ears very quickly.
“What about the four grandmasters?”
Liu Zhangqing asked in surprise. Right now, the four grandmasters should have forced the moon demon into fleeing for his life. Why would he be bold enough to refine more water systems in such a brash manner?
“I don’t know, but apparently a few people saw the grandmasters return to the Ruyi commander, and- and-”
“And what? Spit it out,” Liu Zhangqing said impatiently.
“There only seems to be three of them!”
“Don’t tell me? That’s impossible!” Liu Zhangqing was surprised and terrified. He turned around and made his way towards the door in a hurry. Right when he arrived at the door, he stopped and said, “Keep a constant eye on the moon demon’s whereabouts, but don’t approach him.”
He was not too frantic. With how large the Clear river was, it could not be refined so quickly. He had ample time to make a response. However, he soon discovered he was wrong, and extremely wrong at that.
When he arrived in a place similar to the reporting room of the Hawkwolf Guard, awaiting to see the Marquis of Ruyi, a disciple reported to him that the moon demon had already refined a third of the Clear river.
“What!?” Liu Zhangqing reacted violently. Although the upstream section of the Clear river had a relatively smaller flow, making it easier to refine, it made absolutely no sense for the moon demon to be this quick.
And, the Marquis of Ruyi happened to be doing something else. He still had not appeared.
“To the person on the other side, please report to the marquis again that Liu Zhangqing has something urgent to report!”
By now, the four, now three, grandmasters had returned to the commandery city of Ruyi. They had arrived in the governor’s estate to see the Marquis of Ruyi.
The Marquis of Ruyi paced around with his hands behind his back. His face was terribly sunken. Originally, he thought it had already been overkill to send the four grandmasters together and success was guaranteed.
Yet, not only did they fail to kill the wretched daemon, but they had even lost one of their own instead! They were Golden Core cultivators after all! They could not be compared with Foundation Establishment cultivators. Wen Zhengming and his Pine Sough academy could be regarded as one of the foundations of his reign, but now, it had been forcefully severed from him.
“Did you fall for an ambush of the daemons?” the Marquis of Ruyi cast aside his guilt and asked. This was the most reasonable explanation.
The scholar in white shook his head. “It was only the spider daemon, the moon demon, and a skeleton monster.”
“Just by them, just-” The Marquis of Ruyi’s eyes widened. He raised his hand and pointed right at the scholar in white’s face before letting out a snort and lowering it heavily.
The scholar in white felt extremely displeased inside. We only became involved in this mess because of your orders. Now that junior brother Wen has suffered a horrible fate, not only do you give no comfort, but you instead blame us.
As the leader of the four grandmasters, he was different from Wen Zhengming’s stubbornness and frankness. He had always been known for his great pride, so he clasped his hands.
“My junior brothers and I will avenge junior brother Wen. We’re just giving a word of advice to the marquis right now to be careful of what the moon demon is capable of. We’ll be taking our leave then!”
“You- fellow Tang, how can you say that? Fellow Wen’s revenge is also my revenge…”
“Marquis, sir Liu of the Clear River prefecture has something urgent to report,” at this moment, the envoy reported again.
“Get him to wait! He’s utterly imcompetent!”
The Marquis of Ruyi became even more displeased over how Liu Zhangqing had handed the Watermirror disc to the moon demon, but he forgot that if it were not for his command in the past, Liu Zhangqing would have never done that.
It took the Marquis of Ruyi tremendous effort before he managed to pacify the three grandmasters. The scholar in white said, “It would be best for the marquis to see prefect Liu. Perhaps it might be related to the moon demon.”
“Then let’s hear it together.”
The four of them arrived in a secret room behind the governor’s estate. The Marquis of Ruyi heard from Liu Zhangqing and spoke with a sunken face.
“What! You say the moon demon is refining the Clear river? There’s no need to worry. I’ll send people over right now. We’ll definitely kill the wretched daemon this time.”
Not only did he not worry, but he instead felt it was a rare opportunity now that the moon demon had come to the surface. This wretched daemon sure was insatiable. He had grown arrogant with his success. The Clear river was not that easy to refine.
“But sir, the moon demon has almost refined half of it already!”
The Marquis of Ruyi immediately lost his temper. “Why do I even keep you around!? I order you to stop the moon demon regardless of the price. Otherwise, there’s no need for you to remain as the prefect. I’ll be heading over right now!”
The figure of the Marquis of Ruyi vanished, and Liu Zhangqing backed out of the room. He was irritated.
Stop the moon demon? How am I supposed to stop the moon demon? Even the four grandmasters you sent were helpless against him. I’m just a measly Foundation Establishment cultivator. What can I do?
The Marquis of Ruyi’s orders were absolute, so all he could do was hold a meeting with the school leaders. However, he had already made up his mind to avoid the Clear river at all costs.
In the world of cultivation, obstructing a person’s cultivation led to grievances even more severe than killing their parents or stealing their wives. The moon demon definitely would not be soft-hearted this time. Once they caught his attention, they were probably done for.
His position as the prefect was important, but it could not be more important than his life.
Even prefect Liu who had his title directly conferred to him by the Marquis of Ruyi was thinking like this, so it was as clear as day what the other school leaders and powerful members of the academy thought.
There were plenty of courageous people among them, but who would be willing to do something useless that would clearly bring about their own destruction? The moon demon had already taught them a bloody lesson with how Yang Pinghu of the Clear Court sect ended up.
“Actually, we don’t need to directly confront the moon demon. We only need to interfere with his refinement process. With how long the Clear river is, we can go upstream and wreak havoc while he’s in the middle section right now. We can delay him until the reinforcements of the Ruyi commandery arrive.”
The Marquis of Ruyi’s orders could not be defied, so someone came up with an idea. The idea had a degree of safety, so they all agreed to it reluctantly before dispersing.
Han Tieyi stood up suddenly, only to see Hua Chengzan still seated, without any intention to move. Thinking about how even the greatest brain of the Clear River prefecture had remained silent during the intense discussion earlier, he cast a questioning gaze at him.
“If only it were that simple.” Hua Chengzan smiled helplessly. The idea was far too simple, so simple that anyone could think of it. There was no need for him to speak up about it, but would he really not think of it?
The figure with drifting, scarlet hair appeared in Hua Chengzan’s head. He was bold enough to continue with his actions that garnered condemnation from everyone whilst in the eye of the storm, so he was clearly rather confident. If a group of Foundation Establishment cultivators tried to stop him, they would probably pay with their lives.
The cultivators arrived at various places throughout the Clear River prefecture, preparing to wreak havoc.
Huge, vicious skeletons burst out of the water, kicking up great waves and blocking their paths. Xiao An’s twenty-one Skeleton Demons were scattered along the river to watch over Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan had issued an order too. “Apart from the father-son duo of the Han family and Hua Chengzan, kill the others without mercy.”
Familiarity is familiarity, but if you insist on working against me, don’t blame me for being ruthless.
In the beginning, the cultivators did not take these skeleton demons that were clearly under someone’s control seriously, but as soon as they clashed, they realised they were absolutely wrong.
When their spiritual artifacts landed on the skeleton monsters, they could only produce a few sparks. Only arcane artifacts could leave behind some marks on them. However, once these monsters approached them, they would tear through their protective spiritual qi in a single stroke.
Having been refined again and again by Xiao An, every single Skeleton Demon now possessed tremendous physical strength. They could move as swiftly as the wind, and they had absolutely no weaknesses or flaws either. Even clashing with late Foundation Establishment cultivators posed no issue.
Compared to the Marquis of Ruyi’s mission, their own lives still took priority. These cultivators had originally planned to strike and run. They refused to remain in the same place, just in case they angered the moon demon, making him directly fly over and destroy them. Now that they ran into such powerful monsters, they became even more afraid to stay put. They fled as soon as they made contact.
The Skeleton Demons did not chase after them. They simply stood guard in the Clear river, wanting to see who was bold enough to approach the water.
The leader of the school of Miscellany, Gou Dai, silently approached where the waters of the Clear river flowed out of the Boundless mountains. He clutched a Glazed Mirror of Invisibility in one hand, hiding his body and aura perfectly. Even if someone stood face to face with him, they would struggle to discover him.
Li Qingshan had also obtained a Glazed Mirror of Invisibility in the past, but that was merely a mid grade spiritual artifact. The one in Gou Dai’s hand was similar in design, but it was a supreme grade spiritual artifact, two whole levels better than Li Qingshan’s.
Throughout several millennia of development of artifact forging, many “standard form” artifacts had been produced to fulfill the various requirements of “invisibility”, “defence”, and so on.
Similar to the five main cultivation methods of practising qi, they took the various strengths and weaknesses into account and maximised their effect. The future artifact smiths only needed to forge them according to the standard.
However, as their level of proficiency differed, the strength of the artifacts would vary.
Gou Dai’s confidence did not come from this Glazed Mirror of Invisibility alone. In his other hand was a small bottle that swished with liquid.
As the leader of the school of Miscellany, neither his cultivation or strength was particularly powerful, but he did collect many strange and bizarre items, which could play a wondrous effect when it mattered.
This bottle of Spiritual Condensing liquid had originally been a precious material for forging artifacts. As long as he poured it into the river, not only would it disturb the moon demon’s daemon qi, but it would also condense the water spiritual qi in this region. When the moon demon returned and tried to refine this region again, it would become extremely troublesome.
As for him, he would have done the Marquis of Ruyi a great service without encountering any danger. He was trying to maximise his profits with little risk.
Right as he thought of that, a skeleton had arrived before him before he knew it without producing any noise.
Gou Dai’s heart shivered. He immediately froze up.
That’s impossible! It can’t see me!