Chapter 601 – To Be Good-natured Like Water
Gu Yanying asked, “What makes no sense?”
Yan Xixin said, “I personally believe I’ve seen my fair share of battles between cultivators. Li Qingshan’s performance is valiant and extraordinary, completely surpassing his cultivation at Foundation Establishment. Even I would not be able to withstand such attacks from Zhu Lie!”
Yan Xixin thought about how he should word it and said, “His moves are extremely ingenious, while his usage of and timing with techniques and arcane artifacts is even more meticulous. Even I can only sigh in admiration.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “But if it were not for this, he probably would have been defeated a long time ago. The fire element’s strengths lie in explosiveness and destruction, while the water element emphasises forbearance and recovery. A direct confrontation like this is very disadvantageous to him.”
It was like two armies waging war. Even if one army deployed exceptional tactics, it would be very difficult for them to emerge victoriously if their overall strategy was wrong.
Gu Yanying nodded. “His character is indeed a little staunch.”
Yan Xixin opened his mouth, wanting to say something, but he closed it again. He gazed at the Dragon Arena in worry and wondered, He primarily cultivates the water element, so how is his temperament so staunch? Or in other words, how is he able to understand the true meaning of the water element with how staunch he is?
The elemental affinity of cultivators had a very close connection to their character and temperament. Normally, those with talent for the fire element would have a relatively fiery temper. Throughout many years of cultivation and the accumulation of spiritual qi, this special characteristic would become more obvious.
Out of the water element cultivators Yan Xixin knew, they were all relatively gentle people. None of them were as firm and staunch as Li Qingshan, which made him extremely confused.
Little did he know that basically all of Li Qingshan’s talent for the water element had come from the Spirit Turtle Transformation. The spirit turtle would already be doing fantastically if it could suppress the ox demon and tiger demon, so how could it still influence Li Qingshan’s personality?
The pent-up anger in Zhu Lie became more and more violent. The trident sprayed with flames as he swung it at Li Qingshan wildly.
Li Qingshan matched his attacks with attacks without holding back at all and gradually realised something that was amiss. No matter how brutal and overbearing the Ocean Wielding he used was, his opponent’s moves would definitely be even more vicious and violent than his.
A difference in their cultivation existed in the first place, and while his ability to control water was powerful, Fire Devouring folk were also professionals with wielding fire. They canceled out one another, so the difference they could bring was negligible. And, fire was clearly much more suited for offence than water.
The spiritual qi in his dantian depleted rapidly. Less than thirty percent remained, and that was only because he had the arcane artifact jade tablet accelerating his spiritual qi recovery. He could recover water spiritual qi slightly faster, but it was nothing like several fold faster. The benefits would only become more evident the longer the battle dragged out. If this continued, it would be very difficult for him to win without using the Demon Suppression Statuary.
During the battle, Li Qingshan had also been considering a question that had troubled him all this time—how to merge water and fire!
He only saw two colours, red and blue. One burned and ascended as if it wanted to burn the sky, while the other flowed and descended as if it wanted to fall into an abyss. They demonstrated completely different properties, constantly mixing and surging. There was absolutely no possibility of merging at all.
Fire and water had no feelings. If it were regular fire and water, then so be it, but the spirit turtle’s water and the phoenix’s fire he wanted to merge together were the most pure powers in the world, so how was he supposed to merge them?
He felt rather vexed. He felt like he had misunderstood something the entire time.
With his mind in disarray, his attacks faltered slightly. Zhu Lie caught the opportunity and swung down with his trident. Li Qingshan could only raise his arm in time and block before falling down and plunging into the lake water. With a thunk, he caused a huge splash, sinking directly to the bottom of the lake. By now, only ten percent of his spiritual qi remained.
Si Bao raised his cup. “Looks like the outcome has been decided, Yanying.”
Han Qiongzhi became anxious, while Yan Xixin became even more nervous. He had risked his life to set up this fantastic situation. If he lost, then all of it would go to waste. This Li Qingshan might have some talent, but there’s no need for commander Gu to favour him this much!
Si Bao cast his gaze at Gu Yanying as if she was saying, Look at the person you chose! He’s nowhere near as powerful as you described him to be! However, she was extremely understanding too. Defeat was much more likely than victory if any Foundation Establishment cultivator of the Ruyi commandery faced the violent and vicious Zhu Lie.
Gu Yanying lowered her head and fiddled around with her cup. “If he wants to win, how can he lose?” It was a simple statement, but it displayed her absolute confidence. Han Qiongzhi shuddered and thought, Can I trust him this much?
Her trust in Li Qingshan came from her feelings, but true trust came from understanding. Gu Yanying’s understanding of Li Qingshan completely exceeded Han Qiongzhi’s.
The strongest water daemon of the Ruyi commandery, Northmoon, would lose to an otherfolk that had not even undergone the second heavenly tribulation? What kind of joke was that? Even if he could not win with his human cultivation, he only needed to use his daemon abilities slightly, and he could immediately turn the tides.
Zhu Lie followed Li Qingshan closely, pursuing right behind him.
The firelight illuminated the surface of the lake as waves of heat rapidly assaulted Li Qingshan. The trident parted the lakewater, directly plunging towards Li Qingshan’s chest.
Li Qingshan shook his head and cast these thoughts aside. Whatever. I’ll win this round first! If I lose to a minor figure like this, I’ll look horrendous!
He exhaled gently and held back his urge to strike out. Two flows of water suddenly shot out backwards from the shoes on his feet as he charged forwards violently.
“Don’t even think about escaping!” Zhu Lie roared furiously. He opened his mouth and sprayed out. A stream of fire pierced the lakewater, extending towards Li Qingshan.
Waves began to surge under Li Qingshan’s feet as he used the Wave Treading Form, abruptly accelerating and leaping to one side. The flames brushed past him, not enough to penetrate his protective spiritual qi. And, the water had still adversely affected its power to a certain degree.
Huge waves appeared on the surface of the water. Below the surface, Li Qingshan fled as Zhu Lie pursued. Li Qingshan used the Wave Treading Form to constantly change directions. Zhu Lie was vicious, but there was nothing he could do to him immediately, making Zhu Lie so angry that he cursed aloud.
“You human coward! You looked like you had some balls earlier, but I didn’t think you’d cower so soon!”
If I used my true strength, I can reduce you to mince meat with a single punch! Li Qingshan thought.
Hearing such words caused him great dissatisfaction, but he had no plans on breaking the rules he had set down right from the beginning, which involved using the Demon Suppression Statuary and the Traitorous Demon sword. If he wanted to win, then he could only rely on his geographic advantage, make time, and recover spiritual qi.
The more intense the battle grew, the clearer his thoughts became. As he fled, he flicked his fingers randomly and sent water arrows flying out. Zhu Lie became even more furious, pursuing him relentlessly.
As Li Qingshan maneuvered around, the jade tablet on his waist flickered with light. The spiritual qi in his body recovered slowly but surely.
He had used the water element as his foundation for cultivation for all this time, but he mostly relied on the fangs and claws of the tiger demon and the abilities of the ox demon to triumph over opponents.
Even when he assumed his human identity, he relied on his tough body to use Ocean Wielding, to wield the Heavy Water sword and launch powerful attacks to overwhelm the opponent. This was the first time he purely used water element techniques to fight.
In the beginning, it felt extremely repressive. He did not like this style of battle. He still preferred taking his opponent by storm and landing every single attack on flesh. However, he could only silently endure for the sake of victory.
Although Zhu Lie’s flames were violent and vicious, they could not last for too long and gradually dimmed. As for Li Qingshan’s spiritual qi, he had already recovered fifty percent of it. The scales of victory had begun to tip. If he actively approached Zhu Lie now and engaged in attacks for attacks like earlier, Zhu Lie would definitely be the first to give way.
However, Li Qingshan was in no hurry to take action. Instead, he seemed to be in thought, vaguely understanding the reason for the problems. Suddenly, he recalled a saying.
To be Good-natured like water. Water benefits all living things while avoiding conflict, occupying a place where all others loathe. It is akin to the Dao.
TL: This comes from the first half of chapter 8 of the Dao De Jing. It’s basically an analogy between water and the Dao, drawing comparisons to their similarities. Water is “good-natured” in the way that it benefits all living things—you can’t live without water. It occupies a “place where all others loathe”—water is called the “universal solvent” because it can dissolve more substances than any other liquid. You use it for washing and cleaning, taking away and dissolving unwanted filth. Water also always takes the path of least resistance, thus avoiding conflict. It always flows to a “lower” position, which can be interpreted physically and metaphorically. These are all properties of the Dao described in the Dao De Jing.
To be good-natured like water, yet I am vicious and brutal. Water must “avoid conflict”, yet I am filled with fighting spirit.
The water element is about triumphing over force with gentleness, remaining discreet and enduring silently. It is about going with the flow, yet I forge ahead valiantly, doing whatever I want. Even if I temporarily shrink back and endure in silence, it’s only because of my circumstances. I stop doing that and behave flagrantly as soon as the opportunity arises.
For all this time, my temperament and the temperament of water have been completely opposite.
My temperament is staunch. Even when I practise a water cultivation method, I’ve chosen the destructive Arts of the Boundless Ocean. Although I have the god-like talent of the spirit turtle, and I control vast amounts of water in the Ruyi commandery, I haven’t truly merged with and understood the utmost flexibility and gentleness of water.
It’s no wonder that I’ve become stuck at a bottleneck after I reached the fourth layer of the spirit turtle. I’ve always wanted to merge water and fire, yet I haven’t even merged with and understood the word “water”!
Li Qingshan sighed inside, but he became reinvigorated. He had finally found an answer to what had troubled him for all this time!
Suddenly, his expression became calm and peaceful, while his movements became gentle too. He was like a fish swimming around in a lake.
He stopped intentionally using techniques. As he retreated, he waved his arms around, drawing circles freely. The water flow binded around Zhu Lie like silk bands.
Zhu Lie waved his trident and easily ripped through them, but the water bands wrapped around him endlessly.
Zhu Lie wanted to catch up to Li Qingshan and take him on in a battle to the death, but it became even more impossible for him to get closer with the water bands obstructing him. The flames on his body became even weaker. Even his roars became rather hoarse!
Gu Yanying struck her palm gently with her delicate, jade fan and smiled. “The outcome has been decided.”
Si Qing furrowed his brows firmly. Losing this battle had completely taken him by surprise. As he stared at Li Qingshan, he thought, Such an ability to control water definitely isn’t something a mere Foundation Establishment cultivator can possess.
A while later, Li Qingshan had already gained the upper hand. Zhu Lie held on desperately, but his fighting spirit had already been mostly eroded away. He did not follow the rules of the arena, so the concept of forfeiting did not exist to him. He only thought of dying here, which would save him from the torture and humiliation the Si Qing outside would give him.
By now, Li Qingshan only needed to approach him and give him a few kicks and punches to emerge victoriously, but he forcefully held back this urge. Since he understood the source of his problem already, he had to find a way to deal with it.
Since his temperament was incompatible, then he would start with his temperament and change the way he acted. He silently swore, From today onwards, I’ll do whatever a tortoise- oh wait, it’s a spirit turtle. I’ll do whatever a spirit turtle does. Sigh, it’s basically all the same anyway!
Normally, based on his past temperament, he would have rushed over a long time ago to rip Zhu Lie apart and dig out his organs so that he could vent his anger.
But now, he constantly took in deep breaths as he muttered to himself inside.
Li Qingshan, take it slowly. There’s no hurry. There’s still plenty of time. This otherfolk might have a foul mouth, but he’s just a pitiful person oppressed by that bastard Si Qing. Why do I have to kill him? If I look closer, doesn’t he seem quite handsome too?
Zhu Lie’s face was contorted. “If you want to kill me, then kill me, but don’t even think of humiliating me!”