Chapter 112 The Wound On the HeartSetting up a formation was no easy work. It was both time and labor consuming.
What was more, not all the places were suited for placing formations.
It was actually a process of communicating with the heave and the earth.
Since the power of the heaven and the earth was incredibly intricate and mysterious, it was no wonder that drawing support from that power was extremely difficult.
To achieve that goal, favorable climatic, geographical and human conditions were absolutely indispensable.
Accordingly, the task required specific knowledge of geology and geomantic omens. Each kind of terrain had its own compatibility for the types of formations, which was truly complicated.
In the case of profound formations, if being set up in the right way, they could become the link of the heaven and the earth, or even change the whole world.
As the old faker once told him, in the depths of the universe lived an unparalleled figure titled Divine Emperor. He set up a unique formation with thousands of stars and turned the entire galaxy into an enigmatic out-of-bounds area. The formation could kill the immortals in the blink of an eye. How frightening it was!
As far as Li Mu knew, that figure was one of the few people the old faker praised and held in high regard. Considering the old faker normally looked like he was only second to the heaven and the earth, it went without saying how great that Divine Emperor was.
But the old faker only brought him up once or twice without going into the details.
When Li Mu asked him about it, he always declined to say more but emphasize that the vast universe held numerous stars, and the Divine Emperor he referred to was a figure in the unreachable depths of universe, who was way too far from the milky galaxy, let alone the distance between him and Earth.
Thus, Li Mu could not find more about him. After all, setting up formations with stars was hell beyond his imagination.
At present, all his could do was to create some changes to the river, the plants, and the terrain around the county government with those resources the factions handed in. If he did it correctly, the changes would bring in more qi here and allow him to safeguard the place with the qi power.
That was the primitive stage of formation setting.
And it was also the only stage Li Mu could have a try.
Swamped with all the work, Li Mu did not take any rest in the past three days.
He measured every inch of land around the county government and dug down about six meters by himself to observe the components of the soil as well as the amount of underground water. Moreover, he also carefully calculated all the species of plants, the water yield of each spring, and even the number of ant colonies and snakes in the vicinity.
For Li Mu, laying out a formation was a meticulous job as solving math problems. He had to ascertain each step he took was correct before getting to the right answer.
Although the old faker often looked deranged, he was definitely serious and cautious when it came to setting up a formation. No matter how insignificant the religious ritual was, such as exploring a murder house, the old faker was always meticulous. And that attitude also influenced Li Mu.
In the many fantasy novels he had read on Earth, the leading role could set up a formation simply by throwing out some magic weapons at random or carve certain patterns or letters. Now, he found out those were all bullshit.
In reality, creating a formation was never that easy, because there were various factors to consider and no tiny mistakes were allowed.
For example, if he neglected the existence of one spring, the base of the formation might be corroded by the underground water and cease to be effective; if he overlooked an ant colony, the expansion of the colony down the soil might cause all the qi he gathered in the formation to leak away; if he failed to exam the components of the soil, the jade he buried underground might sink to the wrong place and result in an energy eruption once there was a loose sand bed in it…
To say the least, setting up a formation was almost as complex as building a house.
Therefore, Li Mu was up to his neck during the last three days.
As his temporary assistant, Li Zhaochen had followed Li Mu around these days. He could not help but wonder what was going on. “Did His Honor suddenly alter his disposition and get interested in plants and landscapes? Is he bored with playing the role of a devil?” He thought to himself.
This Li Zhaochen was that brother-in-law of the Dianshi janitor, Zhen Meng.
At those dire moments in the past few days, this man did a quite good job to protect the county government. Thus, with Feng Yuanxing and the other trustworthy officials absent for receiving medical treatment, Li Mu promoted this little prison guard to his personal guard and let him accompany him at all hours.
The little prison guard had just come of age this year, and he respected his county magistrate very much.
That respect was not only out of the fact that Li Mu was his superior but also the uncompromising character he displayed in the events that occurred in the past few days as well as his protection towards his subordinates and his invincible power. All those traits agreed with the definition of the hero to that young man full of passion and vigor.
To put it more accurately, he was basically worshiping Li Mu.
Like the other prison guards, Li Zhaochen already became a fervent follower and worshipper of the county magistrate.
“It’s almost done,” said Li Mu with satisfaction.
He then measured up the land around the county government again to make sure there was omits before going back to the study and drawing up some drafts.
Half a day later, he finished a total of 36 drafts.
Immediately, he called Li Zhaochen in and ordered him to tell the servants to remould the environment nearby in accordance with the drafts.
“Remember, these drafts shall not be disclosed to any outsiders. You go through all the drafts now and bear them in mind. Next, you select a group of workers by yourself and lead them to do the project. When everything is done, you bring back to me all the drafts. Understand?”
Li Mu sounded quite solemn.
That tone made Li Zhaochen realize the importance of the task. He felt it a heavy responsibility. But being asked to handle such a crucial task threw him into a deluge of excitement.
“Your Honor, please worry not. I will not drop any of the drafts even if I have to risk my life,” promised Li Zhaochen confidently.
Li Mu laughed, “Don’t do that. Your life is still more important than the drafts.”
Li Zhaochen also chuckled cheerfully.
After working beside the county magistrate for several days, he already figured out the temper of His Honor. Truthfully speaking, the intimidating county magistrate who was murderous as a demon in the eyes of many Jianghu experts was just a very easy-going and amicable person.
Shortly, the massive outside transformation rolled out.
The Jianghu experts being held hostage in the county prison were taken out in different batches. Still wearing the shackles, they picked up spades, chisels, buckets, and other varied tools and began to work under the surveillance of the guards. Following the instructs of the chief engineer, Li Zhaochen, they dug up canals, removed ant colonies, created deep pits, transported boulders, planted trees…
Those unbridled Jianghu experts, who used to be imposing in the northwest and engaged in murders and robberies, now obediently started working like farmers. That scene was quite ridiculous. But none of them had the guts to say anything rebellious. Even Dongfang Jian, a man famous for his Sky Dragon Sword, and Tie Zhendong, an expert known for his Iron Hand Holding up the Sky, were holding a spade and carrying a basket as they did their job.
So far, all the hostages had heard of the death of the new Dianshi janitor and the Deputy county magistrate, the frustrating return of the Taibai Sword Faction, and the kidnap of the elders of two great factions. Some curious rumors had also spread around them, which claimed that Li Mu was actually a monster disguised as a man. He ate human flesh and drank human blood. He liked torturing people and making pickles with human beings…
Those rumors scared them out of their wits.
Therefore, none of them dared stir up trouble. In case the devil someday was in a bad mood and wanted to their hearts as a dish to go with wine, they all tried to behave themselves and listened to every order the prison guards issued, not even thinking about fighting back at all.
Li Mu, on the other hand, did not pay much attention to the project. Nor did he supervise the process in person.
Because the drafts he handed to Li Zhaochen merely showed simple civil engineering works, such as digging wells around the county government, directing the flow of the underground water, building canals, placing artificial hills, uprooting ant colonies, planting more trees and so on. Li Mu could not see how anybody would find those simple works funny.
However, little did he know, such a project still caught the attention of some perceptive men.
Wang Chen, the Wind Gentleman, was one of them.
This middle-aged warlock in cyan came to stand outside area encircled by the warning line and observe the situation around the county government.
He detected that the materials used in the civil engineering project were all from the ransom Li Mu demanded on that day. Nevertheless, he was still clueless about why Li Mu bothered to get the resources by blackmailing and why he wanted such a big renovation.
He was under the impression that the young magistrate of Taibai County was not a man indulged in a life of pleasure and comfort.
The more mystifying the whole thing was, the more curious he got.
The warlock kept musing over it even when he already returned to his mansion.
Upstairs, the boy, Qin Zheng, was doing his lessons on a desk by the window. The princess, Qin Zhen, who was wearing an unadorned dress and no makeup, was standing on the corridor outside the window, gazing into the distance.
“Good to see you, Mr. Wang!”
When Qin Zheng caught the sight of Wang Chen, he got up immediately and bowed respectfully.
Smiling, Wang Chen nodded at him and motioned him to continue with his lessons. Then, he went out to the corridor.
Standing behind Qin Zhen, he found that the princess was looking in the direction of the county government.
Taibai County was built on the side of a mountain. The county government sat exactly at the top of the entire city, while the Orchid High-Rise Wang Chen and his company stayed in was located beneath the county government. But since that building had six floors and was about 30 meters high, on the outer corridor of the top floor a man could easily see the county government.
“Your Highness, have you had any idea what the county magistrate is getting at?” Beamingly, Wang Chen broke the silence.
Qin Zhen slightly shook her head and furrowed her brow, “No, I don’t.”
To be honest, she did not have any good impression of Li Mu. She actually despised Li Mu’s personality. But she would never underestimate his ability because of those personal opinions. As a seasoned politician who had experienced the ups and downs of the empire, she could separate a man’s personality from his capability. Thus, she would not jump to the conclusion that this renovation was just a project to satisfy Li Mu’s lust for comforts.
But she still could not figure out what game Li Mu was playing.
Of course, she was not really willing to rack her brains for that.
Because she was not curious about that unethical, greedy, and cruel county magistrate at all. Despite the frequent praises Wang Chen made directly or indirectly, she just did not feel intrigued. On the contrary, the more stories about Li Mu she heard, the more her loathing towards him was.
After all, she had been deceived by nasty officials like Li Mu. She surely did not want to fall to the same trap happen again.
Therefore, Qin Zhen even had no interest to know how Li Mu looked like.
“I don’t know, either.” Wang Chen approached her and sighed, “I have a feeling that he is up to something big, but I just can’t find any clue. For all these years, this Li Mu is the first weird talent I encountered that I can’t see through.”
Qin Zhen had no comment for that.
Seeing the silent reaction of the princess, Wang Chen heaved with a sigh in his mind.
He knew the wound on the heart of the princess, but he had no idea how to help her get over it. However, if she missed out on Li Mu, he knew the princess would suffer a huge loss. Thus, he was quite perturbed. But the thing was not something he could push too much.
A moment later, Qin Zhen turned to face Wang Chen and asked, “Any news from the east?”
At that question, Wang Chen’s instantly flashed a hint of concern. Then, he replied, “It’s settled. The widow and the children of General Tang will be escorted to Chang’an in ten days.”
Qin Zhen nodded. She stood there, lost in thoughts.
After quite a while, the beautiful eyes of the princess showed a trace of steadfastness. Soon, her furrowed brows unfolded, and she said, “In ten days? That fast? Well then, let’s set off in seven days. We go to Chang’an undercover. Mr. Wang, please make some preparations.”
“Erm…” muttered Wang Chen, who looked completely startled. “Your Highness will go there in person? No, please don’t!”