Chapter 5: Clear Fine Day

The doctor observing an abnormal person, of course it’s to check for signs of illness.

“Dragon, it’s a dragon!” The loud cry caused the two other people standing in the courtyard to come back to their senses.

However, although the dragon had a realistic shape, it had no clearly visible scales, and its body seemed as if it was made from clouds, absently drifting through the air.

But after all it was still a dragon and its shape alone was enough to scare people.

Mo Li wanted to continue watching it, but the figure of the dragon was gradually fading into the dark clouds, just like how ice and snow melts, and in the blink of an eye it was gone. The rare winter sun shone its light onto his body. At this moment, Mo Li was somewhat dazed, almost suspecting that what happened was just a dream.

“Master……”

Qin Lu responded unconsciously, but when his senses returned and he took in Mo Li’s dazed expression, his heart immediately cried out not good.

– Finished, he was finished! [1] Please don’t think about leaping through the dragon’s gate! [2]

The dragon’s gate was a waterfall that was more than a hundred feet high, with a strong current that was like the gallop of ten thousand horses, its sound deafening, even stone statues could be washed away. No matter how good one’s martial arts was, it was impossible to resist such a force of nature. Even if mythical beings really existed in this world, they would also become meat pancakes when facing this waterfall. What kind of nonsense is carp transforming into a dragon, it’s more like becoming hotplate fish!

No no this can’t go on, he had to think of a solution.

Elder Qin’s mind was a scrambled mess. Even though he had read a lot of books and was extremely knowledgeable, however he couldn’t think of a suitable reason to explain that extraordinary occurrence just now. If he said that the clouds are ever-changing and that it was a coincidence that a dragon was formed, then how did the skies suddenly become clear? If he said that it was a mirage, an illusion, a scene reflected by the clouds from thousands of miles away, then it would still mean that such a thing existed in a different place; it couldn’t be something that had appeared out of nowhere!

Just as Qin Lu opened his mouth and began to give an explanation, Mo Li came over and helped him up.

“Master? Relax, quickly take a deep breath!”

On one hand, Mo Li patted Qin Lu’s back while on the other, he urged Tang Xiao Tang to pour a bowl [3] of hot water.

He was afraid that Elder Qin had been scared by the dragon.

After all, that was a dragon, and one that suddenly appeared. Not to mention that master was originally convinced that dragons didn’t exist in this world. According to the books, human beings were afraid of demons, and were also similarly afraid of the true bodies of buddha, immortals, dragons and phoenixes. [4] In the past, there were ordinary people who had their eyes rolling to the back of their heads and falling in a dead faint. Even though master has a strong and healthy body, however he is getting old and can’t weather such scares.

Seeing Qin Lu looking at him with an expression full of fear, his face alternating between green and white with the appearance of one who couldn’t breathe but yet was unable to open his mouth, Mo Li became extremely anxious. He patted Qin Lu’s back as he fretted in his heart.

– So what if it was a dragon. Did dragons have the right to scare people?

While Qin Lu was muddleheaded, he endured his disciple’s pats and absentmindedly drank the hot water that Tang Xiao Tang brought. When he finally returned to himself, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as he pushed Mo Li’s hand away.

“Your master isn’t that timid.”

“Yes you’re right. It’s all that dragon’s fault for appearing so unexpectedly.” Mo Li let his hand drop down as he crouched down by the side.

Seeing that Mo Li had assumed his usual position whenever the two of them met, Qin Lu naturally resumed his manner of being his master and intonated, “I saw that though the dragon was tangible, it had no consciousness. It is extremely weird.”

Mo Li did not respond because a dragon in itself was already weird.

No matter if it was a real dragon or a fake one, if it could do such a thing in the sky, then it definitely wasn’t something ordinary.

Mo Li lifted his head to look at the sky. The dark clouds had dispersed, and the weather was fine, even the whistling northern wind had disappeared. He let out a sigh of relief. Zhushan county really couldn’t go on dealing with the snowstorm anymore.

“Master, please continue to rest. I will be heading out now. Regardless of whether it was a dragon or a worm just now, we won’t be able to guess just by sitting at home. Saving people is more urgent.”

It might have stopped snowing, but there were still a lot that had collected on the ground.

If those people who had been frostbitten were not treated properly, then they might be disabled for the rest of their lives.

Qin Lu immediately handed the remaining half of the bowl of hot water to Mo Li so that it could at least warm his body.

About to leave, Mo Li who was still worried about his master turned and asked if he was really alright.

Qin Lu felt around his back and said helplessly, “To have been smacked by you for no reason, even though it opened up the meridians, however it’s now sore and painful. If you struck any harder, I’m afraid you would have dismantled my bones.”

Physician Mo secretly thought, here I was infusing spiritual Qi without regard to its cost. Even though it hurts, yet it is able to let people feel clear-headed and loose-limbed. This is to say that master has immense internal strength, that’s why its effect isn’t obvious. If it was an ordinary person, it would be able to cure years of muscle aches and pains.

Before he left, Mo Li instructed Tang Xiao Tang in a few matters. Being young and inexperienced, his mind was still filled with the images of the dragon that he saw just now, and he just nodded his head to whatever Mo Li was saying. It was only when he left that he realized that he hadn’t heard a word that was said.

He guiltily took a broom and began cleaning up the broken bowl and porridge while trying his hardest to recall.

In the middle of the night Qin Lu was called upon to help save people. Because the snowfall was extremely heavy at the time and there were a few villages located on the northern side of the mountains, Mo Li and he decided to act separately so as to not delay the time taken to save people. The two people searched through the villages one by one, going from north to south along the mountain and finally arrived at the county. The entire time they didn’t even stop for a drink and were long since exhausted.

The dragon that had suddenly emerged made him confused, and no matter how he thought, he couldn’t make sense of it. As he thought, his eyelids fluttered, unable to hold them open any longer.

Qin Lu simply decided to not think about it anymore. He got Tang Xiao Tang to stay in the courtyard and not run about while he retreated into the inner room and took off his robe, then adjusted the covers and fell asleep once his head hit the pillow.

Because he was too exhausted and sleepy, his usually keen senses had also dulled. He didn’t wake up to the sounds of someone memorizing books in the courtyard, nor did he wake when someone came over its walls.

At this moment, Tang Xiao Tang is holding a medical book and reciting it. When he turned, he suddenly noticed that there was another person in the courtyard, and his steps faltered back a few steps, becoming alert.

That person stood still at the same spot and only stared intensely at Tang Xiao Tang’s earlobe. There was a black mole that was neither big or small, on the earlobe. It wasn’t a rare feature and wasn’t obvious. An ordinary person would simply not notice it at all.

“Who are you? How did you come in?” Tang Xiao Tang deliberately raised his voice.

He recognized this man. A few days ago, he was inquiring about Physician Mo entering the mountain in front of Uncle Niu’s dumpling stall. However, Tang Xiao Tang is not afraid. Elder Qin can easily deal with this kind of foreigner that was harbouring unknown thoughts with one hand.

The man continued to stand there not moving a single step, his face devoid of a smile as he made an excuse, “I just pushed the door open and came in. I wanted to request for a bowl of water to drink and also inquire whether Physician Mo has returned.”

“Physician Mo is not around.” Tang Xiao Tang thought that this man’s gaze was very strange, and felt very uncomfortable so he subconsciously rejected him, “We don’t have hot water in our home, you can go ask for it elsewhere.”

The man actually didn’t continue to pursue the matter, seeming as if he was afraid of something, or worried about alarming someone. He stared at Tang Xiao Tang’s eyes for a few more moments before he turned and left.

“…… Xiao Tang Er.” Qin Lu called out in a vague tone, still half-asleep. He got a quick sound of response, followed by someone running into the bedroom.

“Who was it?” Qin Lu’s eyes were still shut. He had faintly heard some movement outside and the sound of a stranger. Originally, Tang Xiao Tang wanted to say that it was a man who didn’t look like a good person at all, but after thinking about it, he realized that Physician Mo must have wanted him to take care of Elder Qin right before he left. Now that the fellow had left, there was no need to bother mentioning him, and thus he changed his mind and said, “It’s no matter. Just someone requesting to drink a bowl of water.”

Qin Lu didn’t ask anymore, merely turned over and continued to sleep.

Presently, Physician Mo had rushed to the southern mountain village. He hadn’t yet treated those who had been frostbitten, but rather the people who had run out to see the dragon god [5] and gotten hurt in the process because the ice was too thick and slippery, causing them to fall. Amongst them were several county officers, which caused Constable Qin to lose face. They were meant to be here to save people and yet the result was that a whole lot of them were injured.

“Those collapsed houses, did they crush anyone?”

Mo Li released his spiritual senses to probe around. He didn’t sense any living people within the ruins in front, but there were still quite a few surrounding villages. Since the county people had already been here for half a day, they would know more about the situation than him.

“Only one family’s house beam was hollowed out that we weren’t aware of, and thus were unable to prevent their lives from being lost. Other unstable houses have been cleared out since yesterday, and their residents have already been sent to a safer place.”

The snow on the southern side of the mountain wasn’t as big as that on the northern side and didn’t reach half a person’s height in the span of a night. Noticing that the situation wasn’t good, the village elders had made arrangements early. Now there were no rooms to shelter one from the wind and rain, and the cellars where the food are stored have been buried. To be deprived of both food and clothing made things extremely difficult.

When he heard this, Mo Li headed toward the ruins, removing heavy objects such as the fallen beams. As for the remaining debris, it was easily cleared by the other people and very quickly, they were able to dig up the entrance to the cellar.

He also instructed someone to find a large pot which he set up in the village to cook medicinal soup and ginger soup for everyone to drink, to fend off the cold.

Although many people were injured, they were excited to talk about the dragon god that had appeared just now, saying things like it was the spirit of the dragon king that had resolved Zhushan county’s great trial. [6] Even more townspeople proposed that they build a temple for the dragon king in the spring, and worship it day and night to thank the dragon god for saving them.

Suddenly, a group of people dressed in white walked into the village in the midst of all these bustling activity.

In their hands they carried bells, gongs, drums and gourds, all sorts of instruments, as they dispersed throughout, seeming to be neither Buddhist nor Taoist. It was extremely strange.

The only distinctive person is a beautiful woman wearing an arrogant expression and holding a lotus flower in her hands. The woman was surrounded by two fierce and savage looking men with big builds, who were shouting, “The Saintess of the Holy Lotus Shrine is coming, why are all of you still not paying your respects?” [7]

“……”

Due to the remoteness of Zhushan County, there were few outsiders. The people have seen oracles casting divinations, priests exorcising ghosts and shamans, but have never seen such a horde gathering to make a fortune by swindling others.

In other words, instead of being shocked, they thought it was a play and even wondered if it was an opera!

As for the talk about immortals and monsters? [8] They were as difficult to reach as the sky, as if they would appear after making such a racket?

Seeing that the people of the Holy Lotus Shrine did not manage to shock the people, the Saintess immediately wrinkled her brows. Originally she was already frustrated at being assigned to such a small place to preach, and as a result, on the second day after they left the mountains, they encountered a heavy snowfall and were trapped within the mountain caves for a long time. Now that she was unhappy, the few moves that had been prepared earlier would be changed into a more forceful show of might.

“My Holy Lotus Shrine adheres to the teachings of ZiWei XingJun [9] to educate the people and spread happiness and grace, and have taught over 400,000 followers. All of you have been ignorant for so long, why not save yourself and ensure a good afterlife by worshipping Zi Wei?”

“…… This lady, what is this ZiWei XingJun, this old man has never heard of it!” The village head walked out with a cane, looking at the group of people.

“How audacious, can you address the Saintess as you please?”

The two guards around the woman shouted in anger, while the Saintess looked at the village chief with animosity, wanting to make a move toward him, and yet the other seemed to be the village head, and killing such an old man would probably result in the villagers’ resistance. Thus, her eyes shifted, and happened to land on Mo Li.

He is young with good looks and looking at his clothes he seems to be more well-off than those poor ghosts [10] around him. Moreover, this man was not staring at her in awe, but instead seemed to be trying to figure out if there was something wrong with her.

The Saintess was furious, and she raised a hand toward Mo Li’s head.

Her martial arts is very sinister, and she used a heavy hand. [11] If it was anyone else, it is likely that they would be crippled, able to only become a fool.

Mo Li: ……

Couldn’t understand why he was being picked on, but it was just as well for it saved him the trouble of having to rescue others. Mo Li took a step back, and with a wave of his sleeves the Saintess felt as if her body had collided with an invisible rock. Nose crooked eyes crossed, her body flew backward uncontrollably and fell heavily onto the snow, sending crushed rocks into the sky.

The people from the Holy Lotus Shrine: ……

The villagers would still couldn’t comprehend what had just happened: ……

After a breath of silence, the villagers started yelling in surprise as they realized that the woman who had attacked Physician Mo was not a good person, and that this group of strange people also posed a danger toward them. They quickly began dragging their family toward the exits, holding their sons and hugging their daughters while hurrying away to hide.

At this moment, Constable Qin suddenly recalled the significance of the Holy Lotus Shrine and quickly ran to Mo Li’s side, saying anxiously, “This group of people are a chaotic bunch, going everywhere to rebel, killing wealthy households and even robbing the dead, there’s nothing that they haven’t done, and they also deceived people into worshipping their ZiWei XingJun. Quickly take them down.”

Upon saying this, he immediately brought his enforcers along with iron rulers [12] and shackles and rushed up toward them.

Of the group of people from the Holy Lotus Shrine, the only two who with a decent level of martial arts are the bodyguards that accompany the Saintess, while the rest are not even worth mentioning.

The Saintess whose face who had been buried in the snow hadn’t even had the time to get up before Mo Li twisted the arms of the two bodyguards, one foot propped on the back of their knees, causing them to scream in pain.

Seeing that things aren’t good, the remaining motley crowd tossed their instruments and turned and ran. Constable Qin brought some people to catch them, wrapping chains around their necks one by one, making sure that it was locked tightly. [13]

Mo Li thought for a moment, then sealed the acupuncture point of the so-called Saintess, and threw them to the side of the pot, this way they can also block the fire from the wind. After all, it was cold and the ground was frozen, it wasn’t easy to build a fire.

“It’s okay, everything’s well. Everyone make sure you don’t fall. Physician Mo doesn’t have much medicine left.” Constable Qin shouted as he quickly rushed to the villagers who were trying their best to hide. Everyone exchange looks with each other, before hesitantly coming back out.

“Who are all these people?”

“That’s right, if they wanted to build a temple to worship that whatever ZiWei XingJun, then as long as they have the money to pay it and the county administrators approves, our Zhushan county has more than enough empty lands for them. Why resort to killing and fighting.”

Mo Li calmly continued brewing the medicinal soup.

  
  

Translator’s Notes:
[1] In an ‘oh crap, this is bad’ kind of way.
[2] A reference to the phrase ‘the carp leaped through the dragon’s gate’ (first introduced in chapter 3)
[3] Yes, it’s a bowl.
[4] The exact phrase is 仙佛龙凤.
[5] The author uses the word 神龙 here which literally means ‘dragon god’, because dragons were like gods to mortals.
[6] The meaning is kind of like ‘tribulation’, which refers to a period of great hardship/ suffering that is predestined; however I didn’t want to use the word tribulation because in xianxia novels it usually applies to an individual, when he/she is about to advance to the next stage of cultivation
[7] The ‘you all’ is written as 尔等 in Chinese, which conveys a condescending tone as it is used to address people who are beneath you in status.
[8] Because the woman was declared as a ‘Saintess’ and they are often associated with the divine (or immortals) and usually have strong cultivation.
[9] ZiWei XingJun (紫微星君) translates into ‘Lord Purple Star’ which sounds weird so I decided to leave it in its Chinese form.
[10] 穷鬼 translates literally to ‘poor ghost’, and means they really are very poor.
[11] She didn’t hold back and used a lot of force.
[12] 铁尺 or iron ruler is a thick, rectangular piece of iron that is used as a weapon, kind of like a short sword.
[13] Imagine hand-cuffs only that it’s around the neck, that’s what it looks like.

Ahhh this Master and Disciple have such amusing interactions~

Chapter 4Chapter 6

4 thoughts on “Chapter 5: Clear Fine Day

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