Translated by Aphelios of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
The grounds were surrounded by blooming flowers throughout the four seasons, encircling the library pavilion. The soft drizzles of rain water today created a sense of freshness in the air.
The Yuling disciples disembarked from their boat one after another. Whispers could be heard amongst the group, reminding each other, “Did you all memorize it?”
“It’s really simple. Got it memorized in one go.” A heavy sigh emerged from one of the disciple’s lips as he answered. The previous Library Master was thought to be too refined, and often tested the disciples on questions that were complex and difficult to understand. This current one however was too vulgar and common and drove everyone nuts as well.
It was this disciple’s first time coming to the Library Pavilion since the arrival of the new Library Master. The Yuling Sect had countless disciples, so much so that sometimes, even after ten years, you would still encounter sectmates that you’ve never met before. Furthermore, there were many cultivators who have lived in seclusion for many years. This disciple was planning to debate with someone on the different spells, thus he came here to gather information.
“Ehhh, that person is Library Master Xiaoshen.”
If he squinted his eyes enough, the disciple could make out a youth through the drizzle, who was sitting in front of the entrance of the library with his back leaning against the Stone Qilin 1 . The youth appeared quite fragile and petite, letting the rain water fall onto his body and his pitch-black hair sticking to his cheeks. His eyes appear to have become increasingly moist.
The youth’s spiritual power was so low that in their eyes, it was completely negligible. There was no sight of the tyrannical dictator…
“Is this really him? He looks like he would break out in tears with just one punch.”
Xiaoshen sat at the entrance of the library and was reading a picture book in the rain as Yu Yi helped him flip the page when he was done.
This was the latest and most interesting book, or rather picture book, that he discovered. It was edited by the Yuling Sect’s disciples and recorded the Yuling Sect’s territories such as Zhufeng and their state of affairs, the prime locations to practice different cultivation spells, what those spells were used for, etc.
These past few days, Xiaoshen would also occasionally feel out the people of the Yuling Sect to see if they knew where his water was, but when he mentioned something that happened that far back in the past, they pretty much all gave him blank faces of confusion. Xiaoshen hoped that this book would give him some hints of where his water was hidden.
Xiaoshen was able to recognize some words now and since the words in the picture book weren’t too complicated, he was able to manage and continue reading.
Still, reading in the rain was rather inconvenient, thus Xiaoshen summoned a small puff of white cloud to cover Yu Yi and the book and prevent them from getting wet.
Xuan Wuzi and another cultivator rushed into the library and suddenly stopped in their steps. They seemed to have just discovered that Xiaoshen was not in the library but rather outside bathing himself in the rain as a normal person would sunbathe.
Xiaoshen glanced at Xuan Wuzi without a care.
Xuan Wuzi gave a small cough: “Library Master, are you 2 reading here?”
“Hmm.” Xiaoshen was still willing to put up with him purely because Xuan Wuzi was the first to reply to Xiaoshen and he was able to recite Yun Ziran’s poems.
The cultivator next to Xuan Wuzi took one look at Xiaoshen’s book and creased his eyebrows in dismay. The page was on introducing the Yuling Sect’s treasury. “What the heck are you reading! How many articles of proper literary works have you read and learned?”
Xiaoshen, “Not many… Who are you?”
The cultivator looked on expressionlessly and snorted, his face full of disdain, “I heard that recently the Library Master revered a no name cultivator’s twisted poem?”
Xiaoshen, “He has a name, Yun Ziran.”
Not only did he have a name, but he was also very famous… he was known to all by the people of the Yuling Sect…
The cultivator minced his lips and looked on with further disdain.
It was at this moment that Daomi, who was looking for Xiaoshen, appeared but as soon as he saw them, he forgot what he wanted to say, and greeted them with a slight nod instead. “Daoist Master Dong Wei.” He whispered his background to Xiaoshen, “This person is Daoist Master Dong Wei. He’s an erudite scholar who was once recommended to become the Library Master…”
So that was why Dong Wei looked at him with disdain as soon as he walked over.
“Ahh.” Xiaoshen looked at Dong Wei and Xuan Wuzi, “Hahaha, then you’re both from the same family.”
—These two were both recommended, but neither was chosen.
Xiaoshen spoke thoughtlessly. He frankly didn’t even care for the position of the Library Master, thus he cared even less about the previous candidates for the Library Master’s position. Regardless of who they were, they were all in debt to him.
Dong Wei on the other hand felt immensely provoked and humiliated. He thought Xiaoshen must have said this on purpose and yelled in anger, “Library Master, have you ever thought that you were not worthy of this position? I originally thought that since the ink essences had chosen you, you must have some good points, but looking at you now, you are completely hopeless!”
Xiaoshen sunk into contemplation.
Dong Wei thought that Xiaoshen was self-reflecting after hearing his criticism, he flicked his sleeves and was about to continue.
Xiaoshen closed the picture book on his lap and said, “Why aren’t you speaking in idioms and allusions? Even I can understand what you’re saying.”
Dong Wei, “……”
He heard that Xiaoshen was an illiterate so he purposely used simple words when attacking Xiaoshen in worry that he would not understand.
Dong Wei felt that this was another sarcastic reply from Xiaoshen and yelled in anger, “You, you ignorant short-sighted person with not one bit of ink in your chest, who knows not even the simplest characters!!” 3
Xiaoshen was even more indifferent. “I don’t understand.”
Dong Wei placed a hand on his heart and took two steps backwards as he breathed heavily in rage.
The busy entrance already had a few spectators looking on at the spectacle with hard to conceal excitement. All wanted to see Dong Wei yell at Xiaoshen, but it was such a pity that not only was Xiaoshen completely unaffected, Dong Wei was the one who was about to spit blood…
Dong Wei had a helpless feeling of not knowing where to attack Xiaoshen, “You… If it wasn’t because your cultivation is low, I would most surely have challenged you to a fight!”
Despite the fact that disciples of the Yuling Sect were all widely-read scholars and ordinarily gave off an appearance of grace and sophistication, they were ultimately not scholars but cultivators.
There were countless Paths and each was different in its own way. Your Dao, my Dao, your spells, my spells too were different. Who was right and who was wrong? If a debate couldn’t settle this, then it would be settled in a match.
Amongst those were countless passionate lovers of spells involving fighting and force and had Shang Jiyu as the goal… but this was a digression.
It would have been better if he didn’t mention this. With the influence of Daoist Master Yun Ziran’s work, Xiaoshen had become a lot gentler and chill, but as soon as he heard Dong Wei’s words, he immediately flamed up in anger. My cultivation is low?! That was all thanks to your ancestors!
Xiaoshen stood up, “How high is your cultivation? Are you able to levitate yet?”
Dong Wei rolled his eyes, “Cease your endless pestering. I’m not like Xuan Wuzi. No matter how hard your shell is, I would still be able to crack it.”
The spectators, “Woah…”
As soon as the words fell from Dong Wei’s lips, Xiaoshen blew up in anger and was adamant in having a match with him.
Daomi stopped him and whispered, “Brother Xiaoshen, he’s obviously trying to piss you off on purpose. Don’t fall for it!”
The more Daomi looked on, the more he felt that there was something wrong here. Each and every single word that came out of Dong Wei’s mouth seemed to be for the purpose of stirring up trouble. That coupled with Xuan Wuzi’s dodgy looks as he watched on at the side was a recipe for disaster. Even though this guy came to apologize, with Xiaoshen’s temperament, it would be hard for him to have taken the criticism lying down.
Sure enough, Dong Wei narrowed his eyes and said with clarity, “If you lose, then you must resign as the Library Master. How about it?”
Daomi thought that this would not do at all. If Xiaoshen didn’t resign willingly, then there would be no way that he would lose the Library Master position. Even if he lost in the battle, he didn’t have to resign. If the Library Master was chosen based on their cultivation level, then the position should have been given to Martial Uncle.
He must persuade Brother Xiaoshen to calm down.
Daomi whispered, “Dong Wei’s cultivation skills are profound. His Nine Methods of Fire Separation is known as the Dragon Massacre technique.”
Xiaoshen, “Massacre what?”
“Ah?” Daomi explained, “It’s just a description. It basically means that his skill is very powerful, so much so that it seems like it can destroy a dragon.”
Yet when it was so meticulously explained, it seemed that the technique wasn’t that powerful after all and more like someone was just talking big. Daomi thought to himself.
Xiaoshen was initially deciding on whether or not to let Dong Wei have his way since he heard that Dong Wei was provoking him on purpose, but after hearing Daomi’s words, this battle must be fought!
He stared at Dong Wei as fiercely as a dragon and said, “Okay! If you were to lose, then you must recite Master Yun Ziran’s <Eat Crabs> poem one hundred times daily as you walk back and forth in the Ligou River.”
As soon as Dong Wei heard that Xiaoshen agreed to his conditions, he immediately agreed to Xiaoshen’s conditions as well. “Sure!”
This Xiaoshen, his cultivation skill was merely around Basic Cleansing (second) Stage. His cultivation was so shallow that it was clearly visible to the naked eye. The only point worth mentioning was his strong physical body, but so what. Putting aside the fact that every race had their own weaknesses, even if he only used his spells, the experienced and astute Dong Wei could easily beat Xiaoshen.
“Brother Xiaoshen…” Daomi couldn’t stop him even if he wanted to. He whispered, “Do you want me to send a message to Martial Uncle? You… you currently can’t utilize much spiritual power at all!”
But the youth who appeared to be ignorant to worldly affairs, said this, “The way you humans divide up your realms and differentiate the strong is ridiculous. Don’t tell me that only those with deep spiritual power and high cultivation can win.”
Daomi could only stare back at him in shock. Indeed, what Xiaoshen said was correct. Shang Jiyu was a prime example and even Xiaoshen was able to demolish Xuan Wuzi’s spirit weapon, but was that simply because of innate talent? It wasn’t like everyone was able to be like Martial Uncle…
The other disciples watching from the library all thought to themselves that they couldn’t believe Xiaoshen was this impulsive. It looked like he wouldn’t be able to hold onto the position of the Library Master for long.
Even if they accounted for the rain, which was advantageous to water spells, the skill level between these two were too wide.
More and more people came to spectate this battle.
They did not need to go anywhere else to commence their battle. The Immobile Lands took up a large area and it could expand with the increase of the collection of books. The library could increase in size as well, thus they could fight right outside the building.
It was an unwritten rule that when one watches a battle, the spectators must keep quiet. As the saying went, a true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game.
Xiaoshen and Dong Wei each took a side. Dong Wei said coldly, “We’ll call it off as soon a winner is determined. Since we are battling for the library, the first one to be kicked off of the Immobile Lands loses. How about it?”
“Sounds good. Let’s get started.” Xiaoshen replied.
Nobody quite seemed to have the heart to watch the tiny little Xiaoshen face off Dong Wei.
The Library Master did indeed torment everyone to an unbearable level with his poetic tastes and quirky requirements, yet they all felt a bit embarrassed to see the strong bullying the weak and Dong Wei taking advantage of Xiaoshen’s innocent impulse.
Dong Wei practiced the Fire Method. With this kind of roasting, wouldn’t the Library Master be cooked into seafood?! It would probably be tasty… Ah, it was pitiful just thinking about it.
Ayy, should they go soothe the Library Master in case he cries later?
Xiaoshen didn’t move. Dong Wei didn’t move either. He was secretly delighted; indeed, besides his physical body, Xiaoshen didn’t have any good points at all. It appeared that he had nothing to worry about.
He took out his spiritual weapon and was about to make his move when he suddenly saw a stream of light fall onto the ground.
The youth in white asked coldly as he suspended himself in the air, “What are you doing?”
The whole audience blew up in an uproar. It was actually Martial Uncle!
Shang Jiyu has been in seclusion for many years, and with his cultivation level, he didn’t need to step foot into the library for a long time.
Many of the younger disciples rarely had a chance to even meet him, and were all excited beyond measure.
They heard that recently Shang Jiyu had been practicing his swordsmanship and seemed to have truly come out of seclusion. Even though they didn’t know why he showed up at the library today, they felt extremely blessed to have the honor of meeting him.
Daomi was even more surprised. He didn’t even have time to send the message to Martial Uncle yet.
Dong Wei was shocked as well and replied hesitantly, “Disciple was merely trying out the spells with the Library Master…”
Shang Jiyu chillingly looked at him, seemingly able to see through everything.
Dong Wei moved his lips slightly and confessed, “Disciple is unable to accept that he was able to become the Master, thus had a bet with him that if he lost, he would have to resign the position of the Library Master!”
Shang Jiyu icely said, “Impudence!”
Dong Wei knew this was not a matter of trying to be clever; it was too out of line to sneakily force someone to resign. He trembled in fear at the sign of beratement, “Disciple knows that he was wrong, but…”
He did not have a chance to finish his words when he saw that the ferociously ill-tempered demon had already pulled out his sword.
Like the brutal tide of the mountains, his sword surged forward at an alarming speed.
Dong Wei’s face turned deathly white as he violently scampered away, but what was facing him was the edge of the Immobile Lands. He was not able to charge forward and thus used a single hand to claw onto the cliff in front, yet unexpectedly, the tip of the sword suddenly stopped right in front of him.
The entire crowd didn’t dare to breath at the sight of the skillful and impeccable control of the sword.
Dong Wei was frightened beyond belief as his temple soaked in sweat. As he hung single-handed from the cliff, he said, ” Thank you Martial Uncle for showing mercy… Disciple…”
It was at this moment that the crowd at the scene saw the previously silent Xiaoshen move.
A ball of cloud transformed from light to thick as it rose up and sheltered Xiaoshen from sight and slowly moved towards Shang Jiyu and Dong Wei, who both paid no attention.
This technique was clearly an illusion. The mirage originated from the clam clan and materialized from the clam race’s ability to blow bubbles to create an illusion. Later, other clans have learned this technique as well and after many years of development, in theory, it could be considered to be a branch of the Water Method.
As this type of rudimentary illusion technique was used to conceal the user, the viewer should only be able to see the illusion.
Dong Wei should only have been able to see the illusion from his position, yet for those who were standing behind Xiaoshen, they were able to see all his movements.
It became clear that Xioashen was purposely letting them see what he was doing and he even looked at Daomi.
While Dong Wei was lamenting tearfully, Xiaoshen had already silently walked towards him; the drizzles of rain and mist aiding him in his concealment.
Everyone was shocked and confused on what to say. What was Xiaoshen trying to do? Dong Wei didn’t discover him, but surely it was impossible that Martial Uncle hadn’t noticed him either! Was he really this indulgent towards Xiaoshen?
Daomi was sweating profusely. Martial Uncle was way too nice to Xiaoshen…
They only saw Xiaoshen walking steadily towards Dong Wei, neither too fast nor too slow, and then raised his fist and slammed down in the direction of Dong Wei’s hand holding onto the cliff.
God knows how much force Xiaoshen used. Dong Wei screeched miserably as he was caught off guard and fell off the Immobile Lands, right into the Ligou River.
The crowd was stupefied as they watched helplessly as Dong Wei fell off the Immobile Lands.
Wait, fell off the Immobile Lands?
Some people already felt that something was off about this situation. At the same time, that ‘Shang Jiyu’ already turned into a wisp of smoke and the strand of cloud that was just in front of Xiaoshen disappeared together as well.
It was all an illusion??!!
It was unfathomable……
Everyone went through harsh trainings of cultivation and had been tested on and experienced countless illusions and trickeries.
This type of illusion could only be considered a branch of the Water Method because it was inferior to it. Like moonlight in water, it was beautiful but evanescent and thus could not have become a mainstream method. The Water Method was the right path. Those who have immersed themselves in the library all knew this.
This solitary illusion was considered the most basic of the basics of illusion spells.
Yet Xiaoshen’s illusion, which only utilized such a low amount of spiritual powers, or one could say that he only used what spiritual powers he could, was able to use a negligible spell from a mere branch of the Water Method to create a Shang Jiyu so realistic that no one was able to see through it; even the blow of the sword and the skill was real to the point of being dangerous!
Any one of them, let alone Dong Wei, would have fallen for the trick because they would not have been able to brace the illusion of the sword piercing through their body.
The mirage was so shocking that no one dared to believe that it was created by Xiaoshen. No, it was the pure perfect control that he had over the illusion that shocked everyone. No one could believe that Xiaoshen was only a level two cultivator who only had the bare basics down.
“By the gods, I, I know now… Xiaoshen is probably part of the clam race.”
“That’s very likely, which is why his outer shell is so hard and he usually appears to be spineless yet a master in illusions—”
“I think our sect did have someone from the clam race before, but definitely not as strong… Has he really only reached the Basic Cleansing (second) Stage?”
“That’s really hard to say… Could he be pretending? There are some from the demon races that are proficient in this, but when did the Library Master ever meet with Martial Uncle? That illusion was way too realistic.”
“Even though I never saw it with my own eyes before, but didn’t the books have a record where it is said that the large clams have a thick blood relation with the dragon clan and in their lifetime, and are able to record down a chosen scene so realistic, that one can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality?”
At this moment, only Daomi didn’t believe that Xiaoshen was part of the clam race.
The words that Brother Xiaoshen said before going into battle made Daomi firmly believe that it was because Brother Xiaoshen knew his own spiritual power was lacking, thus he made a decision to throw a sprat to catch a herring. 4
He couldn’t help but ponder on what kind of cultivation did Xiaoshen practice before his power was hindered by the spirit bracelet.
That wasn’t right… Brother Xiaoshen said that we couldn’t simply use one’s spiritual powers and cultivation level to determine a cultivator’s worth.
The first win in the cross-border competition could have been luck, but twice? And in the face of an opponent who came prepared? That was real strength right there. It seemed evident that this Library Master Xiaoshen probably did have some real abilities. At the very least, whether or not someone could topple him was something for everyone to consider. Everyone knew where they stood.
Furthermore, reflecting back on how Xiaoshen smashed Dong Wei into the river as they watched on, the spectators were overcome with chills…
The Library Master’s cuteness was surely just on the surface. How many times did he have to practice this manipulation behind the scenes to create an illusion like this?
At this moment, Xiaoshen looked over with his hands on his waist and jeered, “Dragon Massacre Technique? Hahahaha!”
The scene fell into silence and suddenly, thunderous applause could be heard all around, including shameless flattery.
“The Library Master is the best! At a moment like this, I wanted to use a line from Daoist Master Yun Ziran’s poem to convey my feelings!”
Everyone was laughing; only Xuan Wuzi was crying.
Daomi carried the picture books as he sent Xiaoshen off and chattered on about how Xiaoshen defeated Dong Wei at the cross-border competition on the way. Dong Wei on the other hand was delivered to the specialist doctor at the medicinal ward. He probably won’t show his face at the library for a long long time. Oh, and he had to remember to recite the poem as he crossed the river. Such tragedy.
And that Xuan Wuzi! Daomi had to complain about him as well. “I must not listen to his deceitful rhetoric again.”
“Hmm.” Xiaoshen agreed absentmindedly. “I’ll place the picture book here.”
He pointed to the table.
Daomi shyly asked, “Um… that… Brother Xiaoshen, I wanted to ask… can you teach me…”
He was so impressed. It would be so impressive if he could create an illusion of Martial Uncle too.
“You’re not suited to learn illusion spells.” Xiaoshen replied without hesitation.
Daomi was disappointed, but he had great respect and faith in Xiaoshen, so he did not press on. “Oh, Brother Xiaoshen, where do you sleep at night? You’re not lying in the river right? I don’t see any marks of this place being settled in.”
Daomi already discovered this issue when he was drinking wine here last time but didn’t have the time to ask.
There were still no traces of this place being settled in this time, thus he was a bit puzzled. Brother Xiaoshen was the one who chose this room.
Xiaoshen, “Ah, I’ve been sleeping in Shang Jiyu’s room.”
Daomi was silent for a moment and weakly asked, “Then… where does Martial Uncle sleep?”
Was he really asking this question? Xiaoshen looked at him weirdly, “He of course sleeps in his own room.”
It was without exaggeration that this response shocked him way more than Brother Xiaoshen sending Dong Wei flying with one punch!
“Aye, you can go know. I’m going to find Shang Jiyu and sleep now.” Xiaoshen stood up, “Let me send you out.”
“No… I… Wait……” Daomi wanted to say something further but Xiaoshen held out his hands and the piece of cloud around his waist wrapped itself around Daomi, who still had a lot he wanted to say, and carried him out.
Xiaoshen poked his head into Shang Jiyu’s room, and ran a few small steps into the room with hot water in hand. “Do you want to drink tea?”
He wanted to recap today’s event with Shang Jiyu and show him the illusion he created of Shang Jiyu himself and ask if it was especially good. He couldn’t forget that scene of Shang Jiyu drawing his sword.
Shang Jiyu gave him tea before, so he especially forced someone to teach him how to make tea.
Shang Jiyu lifted the corner of his lips, “Yes—”
Huh? It wasn’t this one before. Why did they suddenly change?
Don’t he even try to conceal it from me!
Xiaoshen sat down and knocked on the table top, “Ah. I want white tea. Hurry.”
Shang Jiyu, “……”
With annoyance, he flicked away the black spots dancing in the air. Even though it was petty, Xiaoshen’s differential treatment really pissed him off.
- Qilin is a mythical creature that is similar to a unicorn.
- Here, Xuan Wuzi is using the formal 您 to address Xiaoshen as a sign of respect instead of 你 which is more informal. 您 is often used when speaking to a superior, teacher, elder, etc.
- He was yelling at Xiaoshen in Chinese idioms (sets of four characters in this case). It sounds very poetic in the original language.
- To sacrifice something of little value in the hope of gaining something better.