Bu Tian Gang Ch45

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/


Chapter 45: True power lies not only in destruction, but also in creation.

When everyone entered the classroom, they all paused at the same time. They raised their heads and observed their surroundings suspiciously, and some even took out a compass to measure their position. After finding that there were no problems, they walked in cautiously while looking at each other with bitter smiles.

This was the reaction from the aftermath of their previous lesson.

Ba Sang still had a lingering shadow and would reflexively touch his throat from time to time. The experience of slitting his own throat was so heavy that it left a deep scar on him.

“How are you?” Dong Zhi patted him on the shoulder.

Ba Sang turned his head and said with a bitter face. “I slept for an entire day yesterday and had countless nightmares of being pierced by a dagger. Every time I wake up, I will be sweating profusely.”

Dong Zhi smiled bitterly. “I dreamt of being surrounded by zombies and they overwhelmed me. It made me freak out.”

Li Ying, who passed by them, overheard their conversations. He laughed. “It’ll be fine in a few days. Those are just conditioned reflexes!”

He lowered his voice after speaking. “Some people must’ve dreamt that they were trapped in the electrician’s room and couldn’t get out.”

He was referring to Liu Qingbo. Last time Boss Wu commented on everyone’s performance, he singled out Liu Qingbo, who hid in the electrician’s room for the whole night. Hearing the ridicule in his tone, Dong Zhi and Ba Sang’s hearts lightened.

Coincidentally, Liu Qingbo just happened to pass by and those words reached his ears. His face instantly became ugly. Even Ba Sang and Dong Zhi hadn’t had time to withdraw their smirks when they were caught by him.

It’s a mule or a horse*! Why don’t you put yourself to the test rather than put on hot air!” Liu Qingbo said angrily.

*The full idiom is It’s a mule or a horse to go for a walk (是骡子是马拉出来遛遛). It describes a person who doesn’t want to say something nice and has little ability to do things, so he can’t distinguish whether it’s good or bad (AKA Put your money where your mouth is. If you are capable at your job, then start doing it and show people your ability.)

During the simulation training, Liu Qingbo ignored Li Ying’s advice and left on his own, causing Li Ying to be quite dissatisfied. As a result of his action, he was heavily criticized by Wu Bingtian for abandoning his teammates, which only further infuriated him.

Hearing Liu Qingbo’s quip, Li Ying responded back, “I’m neither a donkey nor a horse, and I can choose whether to walk or not walk*.”

*Clarity: He’s referring to the latter half of the full idiom. This response is basically saying he’s capable and has nothing to prove.

Others may be jealous of Liu Qingbo’s background, but Li Ying had nothing to fear from him.

Liu Qingbo immediately pulled out his Feijing Sword from his back while Li Ying pinched a talisman with one hand. Their movements were equally fast. As young people, they were easily prone to anger, and as practitioners, they were even more arrogant. With their backgrounds, Li Ying and Liu Qingbo would have a smooth path. Even if Long Shen and Wu Bingtian wanted to take action against them, they would have a lot of trouble. Therefore, they were both fearless among their peers.

No one expected that a few words would end with rattling swords, and everyone rushed to ease the situation.

Dong Zhi spoke up, “Sorry, we shouldn’t have laughed just now, but Li Ying didn’t mean to be malicious. Class is about to start. Being seen by the leaders may affect your score. Let’s just drop this!”

Chi Banxia also chimed in, “Yes, we’ll all see each other regularly in the future, so why bother being so stiff!”

Everyone else also gathered around to persuade them, blocking the middle to avoid them from really taking action, as it would be difficult to clean up the mess.

After being persuaded by this, the two of them calmed down. Suddenly, Zhang Song came in from outside. When he saw this scene, he laughed and said, “You two want to duel? Fine by me. I’ll be your witness!”

He glanced at the people around Li Ying and then smiled casually. “Li Ying, are you helping others? I didn’t expect you to still be so helpful!”

The atmosphere that had been slightly relaxed became tense again in an instant. Where there were people, there were rivers and lakes, and where there were rivers and lakes, there were leagues and sects. Birds of a feather flock together. After the written exam and interview, Dong Zhi found that people from famous families and those with backgrounds would naturally converge, while those who were alone and had no standing, like Dong Zhi and Ba Sang, would get closer as well.

The interaction with Li Ying was purely accidental. After the interview, many people left the capital, either returning home or going off to have fun. Not many people stayed behind. Li Ying had gathered a few to develop his connections, yet coincidentally they stumbled upon Hui Yiguang’s situation. Going through that tribulation together had deepened the friendship between them. Though their personalities and origins were different, they usually got along well.

Unexpectedly, Zhang Song was eager to fan the flames, and the look in his eyes felt off. Zhang Song didn’t seem to be aware of it as he kept smiling and urging them, “I heard the next year’s World Exchange Conference will be selecting representatives to participate. Sooner or later, we will have to fight like this, so why not do it?”

Before this, Dong Zhi’s impression of Zhang Song was that he was a young and promising disciple of the Longhu Sect. When he dealt with the Archfiend in Yangcheng, it was Zhang Chong, who was also born on Mount Longhu, who helped him out. Although his skills were mediocre at best, he was easy to get along with and was quite funny. Looking at Zhang Song now, Dong Zhi sighed inwardly, lamenting how the same rice that nourished a hundred kinds of people, even if they were in the same class, could have such varied temperaments.

“What is the World Exchange Conference?” Ba Sang asked quietly.

Dong Zhi whispered, “I don’t know. It could be an exchange between practitioners.”

When Liu Si heard their whispers, he answered, “It’s a world-class spiritual exchange conference. Every two years, various countries and regions will send representatives to participate in it. It includes competition as well as consultation.”

Hearing his explanation, they became even more curious and wanted to ask more questions when Long Shen walked in.

Liu Qingbo and Li Ying weren’t fools. They both knew that this wasn’t the occasion for a fight, so they could only halt their ride on a tiger*. Seeing that the Deputy Director had come in, they dared not continue the confrontation any further and hurriedly stopped.

*(骑虎难下) Idiom referring to difficulties to carry on a task but the situation doesn’t allow it to stop halfway so it becomes a dilemma. || In this case, it’s the opposite, as normally it’s that they cannot halt their ride on a tiger, so it means they did stop halfway before the fight broke out. 

Long Shen glanced at them and said nothing. Liu Qingbo couldn’t speak even if he wanted to explain, so he had to hold back. Everyone hurriedly took their seats, sitting upright for fear of making a bad impression.

“I will teach you in today’s training class,” Long Shen said. “But not here. Go to the top floor.”

Are they finally going to practice?

Everyone has long been afraid of Director Jiang’s long and exhaustive theory class, and they had lingering fears about the simulation training last time. Their hearts were all pounding as they were both anxious and filled with anticipation.

“Long-Boss Long, are we going to fight zombies again? I forgot to bring my compass today. Can you let me go back and get it?” Someone asked cautiously.

Dong Zhi subconsciously touched the Qingzhu Sword he had set on the table.

Long Shen said, “You don’t need to bring a compass. If you have a weapon, you can bring a weapon. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have one.”

He took everyone to the rooftop and swiped his card to open the door. The scene behind the door was very familiar as it was the spot that Dong Zhi practiced his exercises every day. To others who have never seen it before, their expressions and reactions were similar to Dong Zhi’s when he saw it for the first time. Exclamations followed one after another.

It was only later that Dong Zhi learned this kind of enchantment that extended space wasn’t uncommon, but it was rare to have such a large-scale one like the Special Administration Bureau. After all, many large sects are situated between lush mountains and flowing rivers. Only when you’re located in a downtown metropolitan area would the venue not have enough space for you to use this kind of method.

Long Shen stood under a tree and said, “I’ll teach and show you my best abilities, but how much you can learn and remember will depend on your own abilities.”

Hearing what he said, everyone quickly pulled their attention back from the vast and beautiful scenery in front of them.

Long Shen said, “I am good at swordsmanship. However, the sword is the head of a hundred soldiers, while the wielder is the general of the hundred. All objects have a spirit, and this varies very little. Some absorb the essence of the heavens, the sun, and the moon. Over time, wisdom is born, and the spirit takes form. This is the origin of essence. These objects are limited by their spiritual energy or their own creation, so it’s not enough for them to transform into human beings, let alone reach sentiency. However, they still have spirituality in themselves. If this spirituality can be integrated by the user, it can make the user even more powerful. Think of it as icing on the cake.”

Everyone listened intently, even if they didn’t understand what he was saying, as they all took notes to ponder carefully when they returned.

Long Shen said, “What I want to teach you today is to discover the spirituality of the weapons that you use.”

Chi Banxia raised her hand.

Long Shen: “Speak.”

Chi Banxia said, “Excuse me, Boss Long. What if you have no weapons?”

Long Shen said, “A flower, a leaf, a sword, a spear, a halberd, a whip, a flute, poison, witchcraft, and even a talisman; As long as you use them to attack an enemy, they are all considered weapons, but any objects used will have spirituality. Take the gu insects* for example. Poison itself utilizes creatures. I once saw a Miao girl in Miaojiang who was pregnant with two gu kings at the same time. One can cure hundreds of poisons while the other can transverse anywhere in the world. These gu kings are connected with her soul, so as long as she wills it, she can do what she wants without the use of spells.”

*Reminder: This is referring to gu/poison. Often, insects are used to create the poison. Refer to the lore glossary for details of gu.

Chi Banxia was shocked. “When I was a child, I used to hear about this from my grandmother, but at that time I thought she was humoring me. Is there really such a powerful person in the world?”

Long Shen nodded.

Since witchcraft and poison arts were in the same vein, they were interlinked with each other. Chi Banxia was fascinated to hear about this and wanted to know more.

“Boss Long, where is the expert now? Do you know?”

Long Shen said, “I have only met her once and haven’t seen her for many years.”

Although the Special Administration Bureau is an official organization, not everyone loves to be bound. China is vast and full of hidden dragons and tigers, with countless strange people.

Hearing this, Chi Banxia couldn’t help showing a look of disappointment.

Seeing as she had no further questions for the time being, Long Shen continued, “Not only are insects, but other objects can be applied the same way. Humans are the spirits of heaven and earth. Why? Because humans have unparalleled intelligence, that’s beyond the reaches of beasts and can carry more spiritual energy than any other living thing. From another point of view, human beings can be considered objects with spirituality, as there’s no exception. Your elders must have taught you that when using weapons, you must gather your qi first, then visualize it.”

Everyone nodded.

Although Dong Zhi bears the title of a disciple of the Hezao Sect, it’s only in name. He first learned how to draw the Sunlight Talisman from He Yu, then learned the Five Thunder Talisman from master Fang, and then got the Qingzhu Sword from Long Shen, thus his knowledge was one hammer east, one hammer west*. In terms of systematics, it wasn’t as good as a disciple who studied under the Hezao Sect or Longhu Sect since childhood and started from scratch.

*Refers to learning a bit here and there that you’re unfocused, so you end up not learning much at all.

He knew his only advantage was that he was quick to pick up things and had a talent for drawing runes, but if he was satisfied with the status quo, in the long run, let alone compared to people around him, it’s estimated he may not even pass the training exam. Not only did he listen very seriously in today’s lesson, but he also added the knowledge to his mind to seek confirmation.

Long Shen said, “The stronger the ability of the person, the shorter the time it takes to gather qi and visualization. For example, the current headmaster of the Longhu Sect can use talismans without reciting a mantra.”

There were two disciples from the Longhu Sect, including Zhang Song, who were present. When they heard this, they naturally had proud expressions.

“Take the sword as an example. Only the fast could not be broken in the world of martial arts. There are no limits except in your mind and heart.”

After Long Shen said these words, he stretched out his hand towards Dong Zhi. “Give me your sword.”

Dong Zhi hurriedly handed over the Qingzhu Sword with both hands.

Long Shen pulled the sword from its sheath and held it in his hand like a flower. It could be seen that his swordsmanship was extremely skilled. The sword in his hand was like a part of his body, light as if it weighed nothing, flexible, and adaptable. With one hand behind his back, and the other on the sword, he didn’t deliberately stand upright, but his back was straight and beautiful.

Everyone thought he was going to perform some moves with the sword, but in the next moment, they were speechless.

The Qingzhu Sword in Long Shen’s hand suddenly turned into a luminous light and flew into the sky. Long Shen raised his hand and drew it upwards, then drew an arc with it. Following his guidance, the light shot through the air, and seconds later, a stone not far away exploded.

A loud boom could be heard as pieces of the stone flew everywhere. The sword was inserted straight into the ground where the stone was previously laid; more than half of it was buried deeply. Long Shen’s finger moved slightly, and the light suddenly flew towards the crowd.

Everyone felt the sword’s qi as the wind rushed towards their faces! They subconsciously took a few steps back, and some people even involuntarily made a defensive stance.

As soon as Long Shen closed his palms, the light turned back to normal and returned to his hands.

Dong Zhi almost doubted that the Qingzhi Sword he had been using before was fake. It wasn’t just him, but everyone looked at Long Shen with eyes as if they were worshipping a god.

People who know little have only heard of Long Shen’s ruthlessness when slaying demons, but they didn’t know how powerful he really was. Those who didn’t know him well felt that his reputation was well-deserved.

Long Shen’s face was still indifferent, as if he hadn’t shown any incredible skills just now.

“Like I said, all objects can naturally be used freely when they are interlinked with your soul. Do you understand?”

Everyone nodded like a chicken pecking rice.

Among the crowd, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo had already seen Long Shen in action. The former had experienced it firsthand on Changbai Mountain, while the latter was rescued by him when he was in danger.

It was just that on Changbai Mountain, the power of the bone dragon was so shocking and Dong Zhi was fighting through life and death helping He Yu set up the array that he didn’t have the time or energy to carefully watch the battle.

Similarly, Liu Qingbo was chased by the Aoyu and almost lost his life, so he didn’t see Long Shen’s heroism. This scene in front of him today made Liu Qingbo more determined to become his apprentice. However, after today, besides Dong Zhi, there may be more competing for that position.

Long Shen asked, “Do you have any questions?”

Liu Si said, “Boss Long, I use a whip. Can you show me a demonstration?”

Long Shen looked at him for a moment, nodded, and stretched out his hand.

Liu Si took out a slender willow branch from his pocket, stretched it out slowly until the length formed a whip, and then respectfully handed it to Long Shen.

Long Shen held the whip and pondered for a moment, as if weighing it in his hand. Everyone held their breath and did not dare to make a sound, for fear of disturbing him. Suddenly, Long Shen slapped the ground with the whip, and the grass suddenly blackened and a crack appeared on the ground about a finger deep.

Immediately afterwards, another whip was made, and it hit the crack just now, but this time, the grass on both sides of the crack seemed to be affected by the power of the whip and quickly withered, spreading up to a meter away until it stopped.

He wasn’t done yet as he whipped again for the third time!

Everyone thought that this time the crack would get deeper, or more of the grassland would be affected, but to their surprise, while the crack was still deep, the withered vegetation on both sides was rejuvenated at a speed visible to the naked eye, and even small white flowers bloomed.

The earth around Long Shen’s figure seemed to have rejuvenated and become prosperous. Everyone watched this scene in amazement as Long Shen retracted the whip and handed it back to Liu Si.

“The choice is yours. True power lies not only in destruction, but also in creation and giving.”

Liu Si shook slightly, took the whip, and solemnly said, “I understand. “

Liu Qingbo hurried forward before the others recovered.

“Boss Long, I also want to ask you for guidance.”

He handed the Feijing Sword with both hands, looking at Long Shen eagerly.

Long Shen said, “I have already shown the sword just now, so leave room for others.”

Liu Qingbo was a little unwilling to give up. “But you demonstrated too fast just now, and I didn’t have time to see clearly. Maybe others feel the same!”

Others nodded one after another, wanting to see it again.

Long Shen didn’t pick up the sword but said, “When you visualize, there is one more point. Don’t be distracted. It’s easy to do since you usually practice in a quiet environment, but if you’re in a noisy area or surrounded by danger, if you manage to collapse Mount Tai without changing its color*, you can reach greater heights.”

*The full idiom is Collapse Mount Tai without changing its color, and the elk flourished on the left without blinking (泰山崩于前而色不变,麋鹿兴于左而目不瞬). Refers to being calm and unaffected by the outside world/being calm without panicking in the face of trouble (AKA as cool as a cucumber).

After he finished speaking, he looked at everyone. “All of you, come at me together.”

Everyone looked at each other, but no one moved. Their faces, though, showed eagerness to try.

Long Shen said, “Don’t worry, use your best abilities. There’s no need to hold back.”

Since he said that, everyone no longer had reservations. They stood around Long Shen in a circle, ready to go.

Dong Zhi clenched his Qingzhu Sword in his hand and pinched his other hands with his fingers and began chanting a mantra.

This was a test. Not a test for Long Shen, but Long Shen’s test for them. If they didn’t do their best, it would be considered sloppy and negligent.

Chi Banxia put one hand in her pocket. No one knew what she was touching. She took a step back and reached out her hand. To the eyes of others, it looked as if her hands were empty, but Long Shen seemed aware of it. He stretched out his hand in the air and grabbed at it, then threw it at the stone next to him.

The stone quickly turned black as corroded holes appeared on it one by one.

At this moment, Liu Qingbo yelled and raised his sword to attack Long Shen. The people around only felt the gust of wind from the aftermath of his blade, and they couldn’t help but move far away from him.

Although Liu Qingbo failed to refine his sword into light like Long Shen did, his sword still moved extremely fast. In addition, the Feijing Sword has killed countless people over thousands of years. With the blessings of magic, the murderous aura of the sword surged outward so that it was impossible to hide. Watching the scene from behind, Dong Zhi saw how fearless his opponent was and the vast potential he had. He suddenly understood why Liu Qingbo desperately wanted to become Long Shen’s apprentice.

No matter how powerful his swordsmanship is, it still has the aura of humanly fireworks of the world, while Long Shen’s sword has reached a state of being able to retract and release like a god. Liu Qingbo needs guidance from a master-level figure in order to improve his cultivation one level higher.

However, Dong Zhi had no intention of retreating and being virtuous. Since he had made up his mind, he must work hard in his conviction. He had passed the written exam and interviews, so there was no reason to back down now.

Dark clouds gathered from all sides as the sky above their heads quickly darkened.

Long Shen remained motionless. He stretched out his hand and blocked Liu Qingbo’s offensive as the Feijing Sword paused abruptly in midair. It was as if Liu Qingbo had hit an impenetrable rock as his whole body titled to the side and fell to the ground.

Others followed suit, yet they all failed to even shake Long Shen in the slightest.

Suddenly, a loud bang resounded! The dark clouds rolled endlessly as thunder roared in the clouds, arousing dazzling light. Lightning directly enveloped Long Shen’s entire figure, causing many people to scream.

“Boss Long?!”

“Boss Long!”

Dong Zhi’s heart skipped a beat, but when lightning struck, it was too late to stop it. Everyone could only watch as Long Shen was bathed in the majesty of the sky. Within a five-meter radius around Long Shen, no one dared to approach, including Dong Zhi. The heavenly thunder was so ruthless that one’s life would be in danger if they stood too close.

When the thunder dissipated and the lightning disappeared, Long Shen’s body was no longer there. Only ashes remained as they were blown off by the wind.

Everyone was stunned, and Dong Zhi looked even paler.

“Your reaction is too slow.”

When the familiar voice sounded, they turned their heads abruptly and found that Long Shen was standing behind them, completely unscathed.

What was that?!

They looked at the place where the lightning had struck, seeing the entire area empty as all the grass and leaves were wiped out, leaving only a piece of scorched earth.

Long Shen crossed his arms and said coldly, “If this was the enemy, you would be a cold corpse by now.”

Everyone lowered their heads in shame. In their respective fields of expertise, not to mention outstanding, they were considered rising stars. They were usually praised by their elders, but when they arrived here, they were punched down again and again. First, the simulation training only had half a survival rating, and now, despite so many people attacking Long Shen, they didn’t even make a single scratch. If he was really the enemy, they would have died a hundred times over by now.

Long Shen said, “There’s a problem at Fuxian Lake in Yunnan. A member of group three from the Special Administration Bureau had died there.”

Everyone was taken aback and subconsciously looked up at him.

Long Shen: “The setback that you feel now is to teach you, so you won’t lose your lives in the future. I hope that next time I give you a lesson, I can see your progress. Class is over.”

After speaking, he left.

Today wasn’t so much of a class but rather a blow to their egos. While everyone seemed to have benefited from it, it also made them painfully aware of the huge gap between themselves and the truly top practitioners.

After Long Shen left, Liu Qingbo kept touching the Feijing Sword silently. His eyes were filled with fanaticism. Others were pretty much the same.

At this moment, they heard Zhang Song say, “The previous duel, is it still on?”

Li Ying frowned slightly, feeling that Zhang Song was deliberately provoking him. Everyone who witnessed that confrontation had long forgotten about it, except this guy, who just had to bring it up again.

Zhang Song said, “As you saw just now, many of us are not capable of dealing with Boss Long. We should step up our practice. Outside the gates of Beijing, there are many demons and ghosts that need to be exorcised daily, so we should practice more when we’re free. Don’t you agree, Li Ying?”

Although he knew Zhang Song was provoking him, Li Ying couldn’t really refute what he said: “Why don’t we set a time every week in the future. Let’s discuss in groups, and we’ll go at that time. You can challenge your own opponents, and others will be your witnesses. How about it?”

This is a good idea. There are countless practitioners in the world. It’s inevitable that they’ll meet opponents when they go out in the future. Everyone has their own strengths, so as Zhang Song said, they can improve each other.

Zhang Song smiled and said, “Since the sun is still out, why not have a duel now.”

Li Ying felt that it would be too chaotic currently and was trying to find an excuse to push it off, but Liu Qingbo said, “Yes, but I don’t want to fight Li Ying. I want to learn from Dong Zhi.”

Everyone looked at Dong Zhi.

Dong Zhi said honestly, “Sorry, I’m not proficient in swordsmanship. I can only use talismans. With speed alone, I can’t beat you, so I don’t think this kind of exchange is meaningful.”

Liu Qingbo sneered, “Cut the crap, are you afraid?”

Dong Zhi looked at him innocently. “That’s right.”

Liu Qingbo: …

Ba Sang couldn’t help but laugh out loud.


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