Legend of the Great Saint
Book 1, Chapter 14
Li Qingshan asked many things, and the child answered them one by one as if he didn’t know how to lie, either nodding or shaking his head. But he could only answer simple questions, and he would only stare blankly if faced with complex questions.
When asked what his name was, where he came from, he only shook his head strongly, and when asked what other fancy tricks the witch had, he only vacantly stood there.
Even so, Li Qingshan also understood many things. This child had indeed been harmed to death by the witch and been refined into a little ghost at her orders. Originally he could talk, but after the witch poured him a bowl of medicine he couldn’t anymore.
Li Qingshan guessed that the witched had kidnapped this child and was afraid he’d randomly say things on the way, so she poisoned him into a mute. Whenever he mentioned the witch, the child would show a face full of terror.
Li Qingshan softly said: “Don’t worry. I won’t harm you, I’ll kill that witch and release you.”
Unconsciously, the child went closer to Li Qingshan, and when he lifted his head, his small face had now an intimate expression.
Li Qingshan showed an appeasing smile and tried to rub his head, but his hand went through his body. He immediately froze.
The child’s expression suddenly dimmed. He lowered his head, tears silently flowing out.
Li Qingshan suddenly felt sadness arise from within and hissed at the sky all of a sudden for a long while. Why were there always so many injustices in the world? Humans harmed each other, how was it any less cruel than any evil spirit, demon, or ghostly monsters?
The child stared and looked with surprise at Li Qingshan.
Under the moonlight, there were actually crystal drops at the eye corners on this young man of unwavering will.
Li Qingshan said in self-ridicule: “Indeed the reason men don’t easily let out their tears is because they haven’t been met with grief yet. I’m making you laugh.”
The child stood on tiptoes. He touched Li Qingshan’s cheek and collected a drop of tear, carefully grasping it in his palm as if it was very heavy.
“Don’t take it!” Li Qingshan blushed red and suddenly somewhat understood the green bull’s awkwardness. How could a man’s tears be so easily given to someone else?
Then he remembered that the green bull also said that small weak ghosts had no substance. They could only turn the illusory into reality and manipulate material objects after cultivating to a certain level. This child was weak and small. In all likelihood he could only hold extremely light things.
The child was merely watching the transparent liquid inside his palm.
Li Qingshan was helpless and could only look around, feeling a little weird. Why did the sky darken so late today? Although the scenery around the little house was a little dim, everything was still clearly visible.
But when he raised his head and saw the moon, he understood that it wasn’t the sky that had darkened late, but his vision that had become brighter. It didn’t fear the night, like the incomparable clarity when a window was wiped off from the layer of dust and dirt covering it.
Li Qingshan murmured to himself: “Brother bull is indeed a spirit monster, his tears even have such wonderful uses.”
“It’s a little late, I have to sleep. I couldn’t get a good rest yesterday because of you, and I still have things to do tomorrow. I have to refill my mind and energy.”
Li Qingshan went back to his room to sleep. The child crouched in front of his door, the silhouette seeming half-transparent under the beams of moonlight, just like the teardrop in his hand.
Li Qingshan sank into very deep sleep and only woke up when the sky was fully bright, feeling comfortable all over. The child had already left. He probably didn’t dare to stay active during the day.
He washed himself, and casually practiced the [Bull Demon Strong Fist] once. He took the thick-backed steel blade he got from Wealthy Li, then after a little more consideration, he picked up a few pieces of gazelle meat before going out.
The three scoundrels were sitting facing each other with a miserable look. After Baldy Liu’s death, their small band lost their main core and their life inside the village was even more difficult. It was really a case of “when mice cross the street, everyone curses and hits them1”
How could they learn Baldy Liu’s viciousness, or Li Qingshan’s fierceness. Suddenly even being able to eat had become a problem, not even mentioning eating meat and drinking wine. They could only get some work at Steward Liu’s house and barely obtain some food, how could they keep their previous easy style.
At this time, Li Qingshan suddenly tread inside the door. The three scoundrels hurriedly greet him. They noticed his expression was grave, a blade in one hand and meat in the other, automatically radiating power and prestige. No one dared to underestimate him because of his young age.
The three scoundrels’ voices also became more gentle as they exaggeratedly praised Li Qingshan’s good deeds from the previous day. Li Qingshan ignored those flattering words and put the meat down. “I still need to trouble you for something. This meat is a reward, including for the last time.”
“How would we have the nerve. Second Son you just say a word and us brothers will cut down mountains and set fire to the seas.” The three scoundrels said it like this, while their hands couldn’t be more hurried in grabbing the gazelle meat.
Just like the last time, Li Qingshan said: “Follow me!” and turned around, walking away. However this time wasn’t false bravado, but an unquestionable order.
The three scoundrels didn’t dare hesitate and obediently fell in step behind him.
Li Qingshan borrowed hoes and shovels from farmer families nearby and returned to Wealthy Li’s house.
The time was already noon. The villagers were done busying themselves with the morning farm work, and it was the time they went back home for lunch. They saw the recently famous Li Second Son carrying tools and leading three scoundrels. They had no idea what he wanted to do and followed curiously behind. This time almost the whole village was affected.
They saw him go to the front of Wealthy Li’s house and thought, is he going to teach a lesson to this drunken ghost this time? I don’t know how this drunken ghost offended him? They felt a little discomfort. Relying on numbers to bully a pitiable broken household was the opposite behavior compared to shouting at the steward and village chief inside the Liu house’s great yard. One was unflinching in the face of threats and force, one was relying on strength to bully the weak.
But the three scoundrels were very happy: “I knew long ago that this old drunken ghost was a good-for-nothing.” They even slapped their chests and volunteered: “I’ll drag him out right now.” They hadn’t been so happy for a long time. They wanted to display their prestige on this Wealthy Li and beat him up in front of everyone.
Li Qingshan glared at them and shouted loudly: “Are you coming?”
Just as everyone was a little baffled, Wealthy Li ran out of the house and said clenching his teeth: “I’m coming!”
His expression was surprisingly sober, making all the villagers feel strange. Usually this Wealthy Li always had an intoxicated appearance. They didn’t know that after Li Qingshan had left, Wealthy Li didn’t drink a single drop of alcohol, living in expectant hope day and night. He didn’t think that Li Qingshan would already come find him the next day.
This time, the villagers were even more unable to make head or tail of it, and their interested was even more hooked.
Li Qingshan nodded, and with his head held high he walked in front, leading this group of people to the front of the witch’s green-bricked residence. The gate was shut tightly. It looked like she’d already been alarmed, so he ordered the three scoundrels: “Break it open!”
The three scoundrels suddenly became afraid. There was no one who wasn’t afraid when facing this witch. Even when Baldy Liu was still there he didn’t dare offend her either. This green-bricked residence combining living quarters and temple exuded even more a mysterious and sacred breath. They had been hearing about the many strange things happening inside this house since a long time ago.
The other village farmers also became agitated when they saw he wanted to find trouble for the witch.
Someone urged him: “Second Son, don’t act rashly!”
Someone people also said terrified: “You’ll attract retribution if you disrespect the gods.” This was someone who firmly believed in the witch. If not for his fear of the blade in Li Qingshan’s hand, he might even have approached and argued with him.
Li Qingshan didn’t say a word, and with a “Bang” kicked the wooden door open. The bar locking the door broke with a loud noise, shocking the villagers into silence.
Li Qingshan turned his head back and ordered the three scoundrels: “Keep guard outside, no one else is allowed in.”
The three scoundrels braced themselves and agreed. At least they didn’t need to go inside.
Li Qingshan crossed the threshold and walked to the yard in great strides. He came to the house’s door, about to kick it down.
The door opened on its own. It was clearly noon and the sun’s glare was bright, but inside the house was a patch of pitch darkness. A gust of gloomy chill rushed out.
The witch wore a brightly colored witch robe and was sitting on the god’s altar, saying in an odd voice: “Li the Second, do you know your sins?”
“Zing!” Li Qingshan drew out the thick-backed blade and shouted in a loud voice: “Hand over your life!”