The bright moon hung in the sky, scattering the great lake with moonlight.
An island riddled with mountains in the centre of the lake was the location of the past Clear Court sect, followed by the dwelling of the moon demon. The pavilions, terraces, and halls remained, only lacking the busyness of the past. Under the moonlight, it seemed rather lonely.
But tonight, it became the point of focus for the entire Clear River prefecture once again.
“Yin Xiaochou of the Sword Collection palace wields one of the Ten Renowned Swords, the Breaking Water sword. His cultivation is at the peak of Foundation Establishment, and it’s said that he’s already comprehended the true essence of his sword. When he merges with his sword, he even surpasses Fu Qingjin of the past. He declared that he would challenge all the geniuses and masters of the younger generation across the eighty-one prefectures in the nine commanderies of the Green province. He’s already challenged twenty-one prefectures so far, but never has he suffered defeat. His name echoes through the world!”
Above the lake, a Soaring Dragon ship tore through the clouds and flew over.
Several shadowy figures stood on the deck. Hua Chengzan introduced Yin Xiaochou’s situation to Li Qingshan.
Wei Yangsheng added, “In the beginning, he visited them one by one, but a lot of people found excuses to avoid him. Afterwards, he just sent out sword letters, inviting all of his targets within a prefecture to one location. If anyone did not go, they would become a laughing stock!”
“This is to build the Sword Collection palace’s power and influence and to strengthen the cohesion of the Daemon Suppression alliance. Though, while he did say all eighty-one prefectures, he would be doing well if he only went through half of them. Does he really have the courage to visit the commanderies in the south?” Hua Chengzan shook his head.
Li Qingshan stood with his hands behind his back at the front of the ship. The wind blew past him, but he did not budge.
He made Hua Chenglu sigh inside, Big brother Li’s bearing has grown more unfathomable yet again. Just how much stronger has he grown after several years of secluded cultivation? Is he this Yin Xiaochou’s opponent?
Li Qingshan looked down at the familiar Moon Court lake below. The island was completely dark. None of the buildings had been lit. Only specks of light glimmered on the top of the mountain, the geniuses of the various sects!
Among them, the most powerful aura resided on the mountain peak. A man in black clothes sat there. He only seemed to be in his twenties or thirties, but he gave off a bearing of age.
“That must be Yin Xiaochou!”
Li Qingshan touched his arm, which hid a dragon-shaped shadow. Having refined the Soaring Dragon sword, he understood the exact origins of this bearing. The will of the past masters had been passed down through the ages in the sword. Having experienced the great changes that came with time, their successor would obviously be influenced unless they were like Li Qingshan, using their own wills to overwhelm the will of the sword.
Yin Xiaochou sensed something and gazed at the sky. From afar, their eyes met. Yin Xiaochou’s eyes produced sharp killing intent that resembled two streaks of light, shooting right into the air.
Imbuing one’s gaze with sword intent to stun others was a special technique of the Sword Collection palace. If the user’s cultivation was high enough, they could even directly destroy the enemy’s sea of consciousness.
However, when the sword intent entered Li Qingshan’s eyes, it vanished forever like a stone cast into the ocean.
Yin Xiaochou, who originally planned on making Li Qingshan suffer, indirectly shivered inside. Who is this?
Then he glanced past the so-called “geniuses” around him. Have I finally met an opponent worthy of a battle?
Li Qingshan looked away with a smile. He turned around and said, “The Breaking Water sword? Hehe, Danqing, have you brought brush and paper?”
“That is my livelihood, so how could I not bring it?”
As one of the geniuses invited, Chu Danqing clearly seemed rather absent-minded today. His eyebags sagged a little, and his eyes were bloodshot. Who knew what he was thinking. He only returned to his senses after hearing Li Qingshan’s question.
Hua Chengzan knew that during the small gathering last night, Li Qingshan had specially pulled Chu Danqing to the side. Ever since then, he became distracted. Afterwards, he even bade farewell and took his leave early, only emerging from his room tonight to board the Soaring Dragon ship. He could not help but wonder about what Li Qingshan had said to him!
Li Qingshan smiled. “Take it all out. Be prepared to paint a painting!”
“Alright, what painting?”
Li Qingshan touched his chin and considered it seriously. “Let’s just call it ‘The Painting of Invincible Might Where the Wise and Valiant Li Qingshan Crushes Yin Xiaochou Who Tries to Act Cool Mindlessly’!”
The deck suddenly fell quiet. Everyone seemed like lightning had just struck them. Even the corner of Han Tieyi’s eyes twitched.
Chu Danqing smiled bitterly. “I feel like that name is an insult to my craft!”
“Then you can come up with the name. I’m going down first!”
Li Qingshan swung his hand and leapt off the deck, landing right in front of Yin Xiaochou. He smiled. “Li Qingshan!”
“Greetings, commander Li!” The geniuses from the sects all cast aside their pride and greeted him. Everyone in the Clear River prefecture knew the great Scarlet Hawk commander, Li Qingshan.
Yin Xiaochou could not help but straighten himself out, gazing at Li Qingshan deeply.
The first disciple under the Unraging Guardian King of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, the Scarlet Hawk commander of the Clear River prefecture, Li Qingshan. It’s said that he practises the greatest secret cultivation method of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, the Demon Suppression Statuary, and his strength surpasses regular Foundation Establishment cultivators. Because he hasn’t joined the monastery, he possesses the reputation of the greatest secular disciple of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Even an imperial prince once suffered heavily at his hand.
When I left the Sword Collection palace, even junior brother Fu told me to be careful of this person. He’s definitely not an easy target to deal with. But hasn’t he spent the past few years in secluded cultivation in the Chain mountains? Why has he suddenly emerged?
Yin Xiaochou was not afraid of Li Qingshan. He had absolute confidence in his own strength. He only paid some special attention to the words “Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga”. Among the three great sects of the Green province, it was because of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga’s mediation for harmony that the Sword Collection palace and the Umbral Yin sect managed to remain at peace for so long.
However, he cast these worries to the back of his head very soon. The path of the sword was about advancing fearlessly, definitely not worrying and being overcautious. Since he’s bold enough to come, I’ll cut down the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga’s reputation to size! Let’s see whether the legendary Demon Suppression Statuary is really deserving of its reputation or not!
“Your sword is called the Breaking Water sword, right?”
Li Qingshan looked at the sword on Yin Xiaochou’s knees. The dark scabbard was simple with a few shadowy lines of a poem engraved on it. However, it was slightly curved and not completely straight.
“My sword is called the water sword!”
Li Qingshan smiled, and with a wave of his hand, the moist air condensed into a transparent water sword in his hand. He flicked the edge gently, and it thrummed.
“Very well then. Let’s see whether I can break it today or not!” Yin Xiaochou narrowed his eyes. Li Qingshan was clearly mocking his sword. To a swordsman, that was the greatest provocation possible, and it was completely disrespectful too. This was completely different from any of the opponents he had encountered in the twenty-one prefectures he had visited already.
“Danqing, are you ready?” Li Qingshan said to Chu Danqing, who had arrived after him.
“Yes!” As he had said, Chu Danqing was holding brushes and paper. He was prepared to paint.
“We’ll change the name of the painting to ‘The Water Sword Destroys the Breaking Water Sword’!” Li Qingshan called out. He pointed the tip of his sword at Yin Xiaochou and smiled. “Draw your sword!”
Even at this moment, he had no intentions of behaving like he was facing a powerful enemy. He was so relaxed that it seemed like he was on a leisurely stroll; it was as if the successor of one of the Ten Renowned Swords of the Sword Collection palace, the supreme swordsman that had challenged twenty-one prefectures, was merely a weakling he could casually defeat.
Yin Xiaochou stood up gradually and slowly drew the Breaking Water sword from its sheath.
At that moment, a ray of light rippled out, and even the bright moon lost its colour.
What also responded was everyone’s faces. The geniuses that had been invited from the various schools and sects could not help but hold their breaths.
All of the light gathered on Yin Xiaochou who stood with his sword. His clothes hovered in the air, standing aloof from the world as if he was about to drift away with the wind.
However, the Breaking Water sword still attracted most of the attention. The sword was curved and slender like a crescent moon, emanating with rings of light.
Li Qingshan’s gaze had been drawn away by it too, but he was still unconcerned as if he could not feel the threat from the Breaking Water sword at all. This was without a doubt even more unpleasant than hurling abuse to Yin Xiaochou. Among the twenty-one prefectures he had visited, never had he been treated like this.
As a result, he said nothing more. He swung his sword.
No one could describe the amazement of that stroke!
He cut through the moonlight, broke through the water, and severed all worries and troubles there were in the world!
Subconsciously, Chu Danqing wanted to draw the splendour of the sword, but he could not pour his impulse through the tip of his brush.
Han Tieyi instinctively simulated what he would do if he were faced with that stroke, but to his chagrin, he had to admit that he had no idea how to block it. It was no wonder he heard how the many geniuses and masters of the other prefectures had all been defeated by this stroke from Yin Xiaochou, while the spectators often lost the courage to meet him in battle, choosing to directly forfeit.
However, little did he know that this stroke was the most powerful stroke Yin Xiaochou had delivered since leaving the Sword Collection palace. In order to temper his heart of the sword, he never used the powers of the Breaking Water sword. He only wielded it as a fine sword. This was basically no different from fighting with his arms and legs tied up.
But now, Yin Xiaochou broke through all the restraints he had placed on himself, merging with the sword, using the momentum he had built up from his consecutive victories, and pouring all of his strength and all of his belief into that stroke!
Li Qingshan stopped smiling and swung the water sword in his hand.
As powerful as a dragon suddenly emerging from the ocean!
“There!” Chu Danqing’s eyes suddenly lit up, and his brush took off.
The night before, Li Qingshan had passed the two scrolls of the Three Absolutes Calligraphy to Chu Danqing, asking him to carry out a final repair so that this unmatched calligraphy, painting, and sword manual could be reassembled.
Before that, Li Qingshan had already refined them individually. He had comprehended their sword intent before comparing and combining them with the sword intent passed on in the Soaring Dragon sword. In the end, he combined it with his own beliefs and condensed an unparalleled sword intent unique to him!
The dragon leapt through the four seas, running amok through the world! The seas raged in a vast and boundless manner!
The edges of the swords met. The Breaking Water sword swept past the water sword and landed on Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan lifted up the broken sword in his hand and gazed at it. He sighed. “A sword I casually condensed from water can’t beat a true arcane treasure after all!”
The Breaking Water sword was not just an arcane treasure. The Sword Collection palace had many arcane-treasure-grade swords, but they only had ten renowned swords. They contained the wills of past swordmasters that had been passed down through the millennia. Powered by the Sword Collection palace’s secret techniques, their power could not be compared to regular arcane treasures.
And, even among the Ten Renowned Swords, the Breaking Water sword was known for its destructive power of being able to cut through everything in a single stroke!
The spectators all felt that Li Qingshan had truly bitten off more than he could chew by casually condensing a sword from water and thinking he could match Yin Xiaochou in an open confrontation. But at that point, using it as an excuse was clearly meaningless.
Han Tieyi furrowed his brows slightly. That did not seem to match his personality. He seemed crude, but he was actually someone with one of the most meticulous and thorough thought processes. Especially when he fought against others, he was basically as clever as he could be. He would never lose because he underestimated an opponent. Moreover, Yin Xiaochou’s expression was rather strange despite being the victor.
“Big brother!” Hua Chenglu cried out, afraid to see a horrifying sight where he split into two.
Hua Chengzan said softly, “Don’t worry, he’s fine!”
Li Qingshan smiled at Hua Chenglu and tossed aside the broken sword. It turned back into mist in the air, returning to nothingness. Then he asked Yin Xiaochou, “How was that?”
Yin Xiaochou opened his eyes and gazed at Li Qingshan as if he had just witnessed something unbelievable. He opened his lips and said with some difficulty.
I am heading into exams, so I won't be translating for a good two or three weeks.
I'll be relying on a backlog I've built up (and mostly diminished because of assignments ;-;) over the past month, except the backlog is not big enough to maintain 2 chapters a day when I'm not translating.
As a result, I have to decrease the release rate for most of this month (at least until June 27th, but hopefully I'll be back sooner) to one chapter every 2 days. It's a big drop, I know, but it's temporary. Things should go back to normal at the end of the month.
If I encounter any other issues with releases, I will notify y'all through further announcements.