The blind Taoist sensed the contempt and disdain in Li Mu’s tone.
He snorted and replied, “No comment.”
At that answer, Li Mu was amused.
“Fu*k it! You put on airs even before I ruffle your feathers!”
With a stir of his mind, the Samsara Knife under his feet vibrated. A flash of broadsword light went off, which pierced the many-layered protective shields covering the blind Taoist in a trice but halted only a fraction of an inch away from his throat. The chilling broadsword qi surged, and it could easily cut open the blind Taoist’s skin if it moved a little bit forward.
“I don’t have much patience.” Li Mu began, irritated. “On that day, you took my attendant away and had her disappear. I haven’t settled that account with you. So, even if I kill you now, it will just be a minor punishment.”
The blind Taoist gave a cold laugh and snapped, “You colluded with the demon races. You’re a scumbag of mankind. If you want to kill me, fine, be my guest!”
“Wow, he’s really got some backbone!”
Li Mu felt put out.
“You’re the one who is at fault! You kidnapped my attendant but dare to play the hero in front of me! Hey, are you mental or something?”
“But if I do kill him, the string of clues leading to Ming Yue’s whereabouts will be broken completely.”
Li Mu‘s eyes darted about. Suddenly, he saw that crow circling in midair. With another stir of mind, the flying broadsword suspending right before the throat of the blind Taoist turned into a streak of light and shot for the crow.
“Caw…” The crow gave a shrilling lasting cry, its black feathers scattered in the air.
The huge crow then fell to the ground.
“You…” The blind Taoist looked extremely nervous and stumbled over to hold the crow in arms. Only then did he notice that the crow only got one wing pierced. It seemed that Li Mu did not intend to kill it.
Putting on the air of a huge bully, Li Mu approached him menacingly and said, “If you talk back to me once more, my broadsword will thrust again, and then, what you’re holding will become a dead bird.”
“You… You’re anyhow an upright man, how could you hurt a bird! How despicable!”
Li Mu contradicted in a belittling tone, “Didn’t you just call me the fu*king scumbag of mankind? So, even if I am despicable in my ways, what can you do? Well, I certainly can’t be as despicable as you are, who kidnapped a kid from my county. And this crow of yours is a demon, isn’t it? I say it is not a decent bird anyway, am I right?” At that point, Li Mu failed to stifle a laugh, for he never knew ‘decent’ could be the right word to describe a bird.
After that, he landed on the ground. Then, he patted his forehead and yelled, “Oh right, I almost forgot you already talked back to me. I think I’ll just kill this bird…” As he said, the flying broadsword started vibrating and buzzing.
“The crow is my…!” screamed the blind Taoist in distress, “Stop, stop! I’ll tell you! That beggar is the Chief Elder of the Beggar Gang, the largest association in Northern Song. He came from Northern Song, so I figure he just went back there. That’s all I know.”
The flying broadsword abruptly drew up right before hitting the head of the crow.
Li Mu asked in amazement, “Beggar Gang? There is really a Beggar Gang in this world?”
The blind Taoist seemed to have not heard Li Mu’s words. He was still very tense. He held the crow in his arms and began casting magic to cure its injury. The crow snuggled up to him like a child, its features revealing a rich affection for the man.
“How powerful is the largest association in Northern Song? It can’t be one of the top nine Holy Clans, can it?” probed Li Mu.
Without looking up, the blind Taoist answered, “Not one of the top nine Holy Clans, of course. The reason that it is known as the largest association is the great number of its members. You can find their members across every part of the Northern Song. For that matter, it can get all the news in that empire first-hand. Although due to the special state of the Beggar Gang it hasn’t been rated like other sects, there are many capable men in the gang. Zuo Luyi, the old number one expert in the Beggar Gang, claimed to be the strongest practitioner on this planet and the first man to enter the Void-breaking Realm. Even the heads of the top nine Holy Clans were his equals. It’s just that the figure liked traveling around and then disappeared…”
Since he had already started the story, the blind Taoist no longer begrudged his words.
And he just found out that Li Mu actually reserved his strength when attacking the crow a moment ago. The blow merely caused a few feathers to fall off but did not break the wing.
“What? That old chap also seemed to have called himself Zuo Luyi, didn’t he?” Li Mu was slightly stunned at that remark.
The blind Taoist snorted, “That old beggar is crazy. He keeps a dog and tells everyone he meets that he is Zuo Luyi, the old strongest expert on the land. Yet, his strength is not even one-tenth of Zuo Luyi’s, and he often gets beaten up and has to run for his life…”
Li Mu at once went speechless.
“Turns out that he is a psycho!”
“Will Ming Yue be in any danger after falling in the hands of that nut?”
As though he had read Li Mu’s mind, the blind Taoist said reassuringly, “Relax. Even though the old dude is a bit deranged, he never commits any forms of evil. He even cannot bring himself to kill demon races. Thus, how could he harm a child? That he took your little girl away is just to protect her. The girl is possessed by a devil. Her soul will be fully encroached by the devil in her before she grows to the age of twenty. That old dude perhaps hopes to sort the devil out from her body and so he took her away.”
“Fu*k! Since you knew Ming Yue had been possessed by a demon spirit, why did you still attempt to kill her?” demanded Li Mu, who had flared up.
The face of the blind Taoist turned red.
In fact, he had only thought over those matters recently.
At the moment, he had realized that he nearly made a serious mistake on that day.
He had vowed to kill all the demons in the world. Since Ming Yue was possessed by a demon spirit, she was also the victim. If he had killed her that day, he would have taken an innocent life. For that matter, he felt rather guilty towards Li Mu and Ming Yue. Otherwise, he would not have told Li Mu that much even if he was threatened.
Li Mu took a deep breath and started to comb things through.
There were finally some clues on Ming Yue’s whereabouts. Li Mu was no longer at a total loss. No wonder he had heard no news about the old beggar in Chang’an. Perhaps the chap had fled to the Northern Song. It was just that the Northern Song was very far from the Western Qin. Even if he traveled with the flying broadsword, counting in the time for rests, it would take him months to get there. Plus, even if he arrived in that empire, it was uncertain whether he could locate the old beggar. Hence, he could not rush in the case. He needed time to make a thorough plan.
Fortunately, as the old blind guy said, Ming Yue was in no imminent danger.
Even though the old beggar did not keep his promise, he was not a bad guy.
Further, the arrangement in the Taibai County had just started. The geomancy in the mountain area had not been finished yet. He could by no means put that project off, for the letter from Xu Sheng told him that he did not have much time left before the political storm spread to Chang’an. When that time came, the situation would be unpredictable. Li Mu had to stay in the county to safeguard some people. Thus, he could not leave Qing Feng, Shangguan Yuting, and the others behind to search for Ming Yue.
“Seems that the search for Ming Yue has to be postponed.”
Li Mu made up his mind.
He shot a look at the blind Taoist and said, “Leave this place. That dragon is not something you can handle. You’ll simply get killed if you keep staying here. From now on, this place is a forbidden area in my Taibai County. Nobody is granted access to it.”
On hearing that, the blind Taoist instinctively wanted to talk back. But Li Mu threatened, “If you don’t go, I’ll kill your bird first.”
That remark touched a nerve.
The blind Taoist was fuming. But at last, he hobbled back to the hut to pack his things for his departure. He kept coughing as he moved.
Li Mu took a glance at him through the Third Eye and immediately noticed that the blind Taoist had poor health. If it weren’t for his magic cultivation, given his health condition, he would have probably died a long time ago, already starting to decay.
“He is just a poor guy! ”
Finally, the blind Taoist packed all his belongings and mounted the huge crow, coughing during the whole time. The bird carrying the man up from the ground, looked all forlorn. Soon, they became a dark dot under the moons and disappeared into the moonlight.
Li Mu watched the Taoist fly away. After making sure that he had left the place, he began to set up his deployments in the gorge.
Based on Li Mu’s prior observation and deduction, the gorge was a hidden eye of the Dragon-assembling Pattern.
Large geomantic deployments all had an exposed core and a hidden one, which represented the Yin and the Yang. So did the Dragon-assembling Pattern, a remarkable geomantic deployment designed by nature. The exposed core gathered the qi of the mountains, while the hidden one attracted the qi of the Earthveins. Since it was only natural to avoid the overflow and fill the deficiency, the two sensitive deployment cores could not sit together. Because if they did, the Taibai Mountain would be a real blessed place, which would be too unnatural and could not be missed by anyone.
What Li Mu needed to do at the time was to combine the exposed and hidden cores into one.
He planned to convert the Taibai Mountain into a blessed place that would shock the world.
And he would soar up to the sky from the blessed place.
In the moonlight, Li Mu started to get busy.
He shuttled through the deep gorge on his Samsara Knife and engraved an array of deployments on the precipitous hills and cliffs. He also placed colossal boulders that weighed tons in assigned positions at the bottom of the gorge to change the geomancy. By modifying the trivial details, he continued to alter the terrain of the entire gorge.
Thanks to the practice he did in the vast mountain years ago, Li Mu became very adept at laying out deployments.
The night hours flew by.
A sun slowly rose from the distant margin of the Taibai Mountain area.
The streets in the Taibai County gradually turned crowded.
All of a sudden, a blast went off and the earth trembled. A bizarre roar of a powerful monster came out from the back mountains and was heard by everyone in the county. Then, two shots of divine lights soared to the sky, twining one another and flying to heaven, as though they had dashed out of that world.
The residents looked appalled. No one knew what was that about.
“Did a dragon just fly to heaven?”
“A demon in the back mountain has gained a mysterious power?”
“I’ve heard that a flood dragon lives in the deep lake by the back mountains. Has it succeeded in transforming into a real dragon?”
People were whispering everywhere. That phenomenon was indeed rare to see, almost like a miraculous sign of a deity.
But shortly, the absurd phenomenon vanished. The weird roar of a wild beast died away, too. Everything seemed to be back to normal.
Pale-faced, Li Mu slowly went back to the old county government.
“It’s basically done, though further modification is called for… Altering such a massive geomantic deployment is so energy-consuming. Given my current spiritual force, it’s a bit hard to do this work. Oh, I feel like my insides have been taken away.”
He was so exhausted that he could not take a steady step forward.
But he was quite excited within.
As the grand deployment had been set up, he already sensed the change in the Spiritual Qi over the entire Taibai County.
With the grand deployment, he was practically invincible in the Taibai County!