Legend of the Great Saint
Book 1, Chapter 11
His courage lifted his strength, while his strength lifted his courage, both complementing each other.
He became hungry again when he finished his training at sunset. He was still very thin, entirely unlike the sturdy bodies of Tiger or Panther Li. Only he knew very clearly that he didn’t waste a shred of the blood and flesh essence from the deer meat, and had absorbed all of it inside his body.
His body was like a bottomless hole, greedily digesting all wine and meat, transforming them into traces of power.
After the fist training, Li Qingshan sat on the ground and closed his eyes. He quieted his mind and sensed every change inside himself. Overly pulling muscles and tendons was a very painful thing. He still remembered the second day he’d practiced the [Bull Demon Strong Fist], the pain was so great he almost couldn’t get up.
The green bull didn’t try to persuade him, so he still persisted and trained through the pain. Now through the continuous effort of a dozen days of practice, it finally became a little better. No, it should be his ability to endure that became a little stronger. According to reason, his body should have been able to acclimate itself after the first few days, but the pain on didn’t diminish in the least, as if every day was the first day he started training.
Every change of his body was vividly mirrored in his mind, but unfortunately he couldn’t sense any so-called qi. According to the green bull, no matter what type of supernatural skill, you needed to sense the flow of qi and cultivate a trace of true qi before you could said be have genuine set foot inside the dao. But after all, the time he’d cultivated was too short.
At this time, he suddenly felt a trace of chill flowing behind his neck, like a sudden breeze.
But there was absolutely no wind right now, so there couldn’t have been any breeze.
“Could it be this so-called qi?”
Li Qingshan felt delighted and focused all of his attention on that chill, but he gradually felt that the chill slowly penetrated inside his skin, going deeper and deeper, sinking inside his bones and even his soul, becoming extremely gloomy and cold. It made him very uncomfortable.
Li Qingshan shook his head. He stood up and punched a few times. The gloomy cold dissipated a little,but it coiled around him once more when he sat back.
He had no idea where the problem was. He simply went to the creek beside the house and cleaned his body. The night’s moonlight was clear and bright, and when he looked into the water, he saw a child with a pale face clinging expressionlessly on his body.
Although his courage wasn’t weak already, he was still shocked into cold sweat. The current scene reminded him of a movie he’d seen in his previous world, “The Grudge.”
If he were an ordinary person, he would certainly have been scared silly, but good and bad Li Qingshan had also been in contact with a monster bull for so long, so he looked straight at the child in the water: “What kind of thing are you? Why did you climb on me?”
The child only moved his head, and at the same time a burst of ripples appeared on the water’s surface. The child’s reflection vanished, but that gloomy and cold air still clearly stayed on him.
Li Qingshan strove to steady his mind: “I’ve run into a ghost. I have no idea why this little ghost is pestering me. I can only wait until brother bull comes back and discuss it with him. Fortunately it’s not going to claim my life in the short run.”
He had no great assurance in his heart, and he felt fear arise in him. The erosion of the gloomy chilly air sped up, and he hurried to practice the [Bull Demon Strong Fist] once more. Only during this time would the gloomy chill disappear. But after all he wasn’t a tireless robot and still had to sit down and rest, and during that time he would find the chill especially hard to endure.
As he reached further into the depths of the night, the gloomy air was at its strongest.
The gloomy chill had already invaded more than half of Li Qingshan’s body. There was no greatly obvious pain, it was only his hands and feet gradually becoming numb, and his five senses gradually blurring.
The sensation of extreme danger made his brain run at full speed.
He had heard people say that inside everyone’s body there was yang qi that could restrain yin ghosts. He thought at the way his blood veins gushed with energy while he trained his fist technique, so the little ghost didn’t dare come close. Hence while he was sitting he strove to imitate the same feeling as when he trained. He closed his eyes, manipulated his thoughts, contracted his muscles, and indeed it was somewhat useful, reluctantly withstanding the gloomy air’s onslaught.
He endured this way through the whole night, his consciousness sometimes murky and sometimes clear, fiercely training his mental and willpower, until his will was almost defeated.
The roosters sang and the day brightened. Li Qingshan suddenly opened his eyes. Sunlight fell from the branch tips over his face, a little harsh on his eyes. The gloomy chill vanished from his body. The green bull happened to be looking at him from not too far away, its face filled with interest.
Li Qingshan said: “Brother bull, where did you go? Do you know what happened to me last night?”
“I’ve been back for a while. Aren’t you talking about the little ghost on your body?”
“So you just watched like that?”
“What else do you want me to do?”
Li Qingshan grinned and didn’t say anything. The green bull had told him long ago, if you meet some danger don’t expect me to assist you. It never gave him the opportunity to rely on it from the beginning. Looking at the gazelle at its feet, he was even more unable to say anything. The green bull had already provided him with the most important help, and he couldn’t rely on it for every single thing.
Basking under the warm sun, Li Qingshan stood up and stretched his body: “Fortunately the little ghost doesn’t dare to come out during the day, otherwise I really couldn’t hold on anymore. Brother bull, good or bad I’m still cultivating a daoist technique, don’t tell me I can’t handle a small phantom.”
“If you didn’t train a supernatural technique you wouldn’t have been able to endure last night. Wait until you cultivate the strength of one bull, your body will be filled with exuberant blood and you naturally won’t need to fear a tiny trivial ghost.”
“That’s in who knows how long.”
“Apart from that, I still have another way.”
“Things like yin ghosts are most afraid of killing auras. If you have the blood of a hundred lives or so on your hands, I guarantee you’ll easily ward off all kinds of evils. This little ghost won’t dare to come within ten steps of you.”
Li Qingshan rolled his eyes: “Don’t tell me you want me to slaughter this whole Crouching Bull Village?”
“That might not be unfeasible actually. How about it, want to try? Hehe” The green bull laughed.
“I might as well cut you first and make steak!” Li Qingshan ignored him, processed the gazelle, and ate breakfast. He first shoved this thing to the back of his mind, enduring the fatigue of mind and body as he wholeheartedly started the day’s training.
But as soon as he started cultivating he felt that today wasn’t the same as usual. There was a thin and weak gossamer of “qi” flowing inside his body, and if he didn’t concentrate he absolutely couldn’t sense it.
This qi wasn’t like the true qi described inside wuxia novels that was stored inside the dantian and flowed through the meridians1, but scattered everywhere like wandering fishes, traveling through his four limbs and hundred bones. When he waved his fist fiercely, the thread of qi flowed into his arms and his fists, but this was also the matter of an instant.
Once he relaxed his focus, the thread of qi ran off who knew where like an urchin, hardly under his control at all. He told this situation to the green bull.
The green bull wasn’t surprised, saying meaningfully instead: “You have to thank that little ghost for being able to sense qi so fast. It was a blessing in disguise.”
In the critical juncture between life and death, Li Qingshan had mobilized all of his focus and willpower to resist the invasion of the gloomy chill. The little ghost had left, but the focus and willpower stayed behind, becoming a shred of true qi.
“So it turns out to be true qi?” Li Qingshan looked at his own palms: “What’s the actual use of this true qi?”
“Refine vitality and produce qi, refine vitality and produce qi, isn’t it all for the sake of this whiff of qi? What use do you think it has? If you can’t sense qi, even if you cultivated a lifetime you’d only be a country peasant with some ability at most, and wouldn’t amount to anything. If I had to say the benefits, I can’t even count them all, just slowly experience it on your own.”
- If you’re not familiar with Chinese novels, those are all elements of traditional taoist medicine and staples of Chinese fantasy. Qi is the invisible vital energy that flows around the body through qi channels called meridians. The dantian, literally elixir field, is a place in the lower abdomen where qi is usually stored.