Seeing that Caicai, Granny Cai, and Wu Beichen were all in the house, a powerful wave of relief swept through Li Mu.
Those days, they had collected some news on their way since they took off from the vast pasture for the west. Only then did they know the land had been in such havoc. What was more shocking to them was that the seemingly untouchable three great empires, especially Western Qin and Northern Song, turned out to be so vulnerable. They could not believe in less than six months the three empires were reduced to such a mess.
As to the details, the herdsmen did not know much, either, for the messages were blocked out on the pasture.
Li Mu was told that the Western Qin Empire had lost almost the entire border area in the war, which had been occupied by a Great Moon Empire that came out from nowhere. Except for one county, the rest of the border area was under the control of the Great Moon Empire at the time. Even Li Yuanba, the Domineeringly Demonic Halberd who was a legendary general in Western Qin, was defeated in the war. Thus, Li Mu began to worry about Granny Cai, Caicai, and Wu Beichen and his comrades. He traveled all the way on his flying broadsword and finally hurtled to Longcheng Pass on that day.
To his utter amazement, the small Longcheng Pass had not fallen to the hands of the enemy yet.
“I pay my respects to Lord Taibai.” Wu Beichen hastily made his obeisance the moment he recovered from the rapture.
Li Mu said, “You don’t have to be so courteous to me.”
Wu Beichen quickly beckoned Xiaowu over and urged, “Boy, don’t just stand there. Come here to meet Lord Taibai.”
The young man who usually wore a reserved smile, however, kept standing on his spot. A bizarre smile was revealed on his face. His eyes sparkled. His back was so upright that it was as straight as a divine sword. He continued staring at Li Mu, giving no sign of coming forward to greet the lord.
Wu Beichen was taken aback at the boy’s weird behavior.
“Though the boy is timid before strangers, he is not dumb at all. So, what’s wrong with him?”
“Come on, boy. Only a few days ago, you said you wanted to meet the poem and sword whiz, Li Mu, didn’t you?” Wu Beichen prompted, winking at the boy.
Li Mu waved him down, shook his head, and said, “Don’t bother. I dare not ask a Semi-Sage to pay obeisance to me.”
Wu Beichen and Caicai were both thrown in a daze.
They thought their ears had deceived them.
“Xiaowu is a Semi-Sage?”
The faces of Qiu Yin and Goddess of Martial Arts took on a hint of vigilance at once.
Bai Mochou was the only one who adopted a nonchalant attitude towards the news, clearly saying it was none of her business. She looked extremely aloof, as though a Semi-Sage was as common as cabbages. However, as her eyes lay on Caicai, her face lit up, as though she had just spotted some unparalleled treasure.
Yuan Hou obediently stood close behind Li Mu, ready to take orders and bear the brunt for its big brother.
Daji, the little white fox, was riding on Li Mu’s shoulders and peering down at Xiaowu with curiosity.
It was not until then that Caicai and Wu Beichen registered Xiaowu had taken on a totally different look when no one was looking. He was no longer that gentle and timid young man they knew. Instead, he was wrapped in a fierce and self-reliant aura. He seemed to have become another person. From the young man, a bearing of mingled majesty, pride, dignity, and aggressiveness slowly spread through the place.
In a trice, Xiaowu changed from an ordinary bashful young man from the merchant group to an awe-inspiring king who rose high above the masses and dominated the world, too formidable for others to look into his eyes.
“Brother Xiaowu, you…” Caicai looked perplexed. She did not know where to start.
But Xiaowu did not turn to Caicai. Instead, he fixed his eyes on Li Mu with a faint smile and said composedly, “Lord Taibai is finally here… Well, I’ve waited for you for an entire half a year.”
Li Mu raised his eyebrow and asked, “Who are you?”
Xiaowu beamed, then, replied, “Yu Hualong, from Great Moon Empire.”
“Yu Hualong?” Wu Beichen first let loose a bawl of astonishment, “Great Moon Empire’s crown prince, Yu Hualong?”
He found it hard to believe what he just heard.
Caicai, on the other hand, just stood there with an appalled look, her hands clapped over her mouth, unable to utter a word.
“The crown prince of the Great Moon Empire who ordered his army to besiege Longcheng Pass for so long turns out to be living right inside Longcheng Pass?”
“He is the man who has shocked the world and taken up all the news headlines during the past half a year?”
“It can’t be!”
Li Mu was not that surprised like the others.
He had sensed it the instant he landed in the room that there were horrifying energy fluctuations in the young man, which were pretty much as powerful as the Fire Devil’s.
“As I traveled all the way down here from the vast pasture, I heard a ton of news about the rise of the Great Moon Empire. What’s more, many pasture warriors view you as the brightest rising star among the younger generations in the central area. They described you as if you were that Nezha with three heads and six arms. Today, when I finally met you in person, I know they are wrong— you are just as normal as us, with no extra arms or anything,” remarked Li Mu. He measured Yu Hualong from head to foot, not at all flinching due to the young man’s intimidating aura and bearing.
As to who Nezha was, Qiu Yin, Wu Beichen, and the others had no idea.
But Yu Hualong, the crown prince, did not show any sign of confusion and retorted, “When Nezha chose not to display the magic that enabled him to sprout two extra head and four extra arms, he was just a normal young man, wasn’t he?”
He said that rather cooling and tersely.
So, none of the others sensed the meaning hidden between the lines.
But Li Mu was staggered at those words. He immediately asked, “Ah? You know about Nezha?”
That was a figure in Chinese mythology in the Earth.
Yu Hualong, the crown prince, nodded and confirmed, “Yes, I do. I also know Jinzha and Muzha were Nezha’s two brothers. Their father was Li Jing, the chief commander in Chentang Pass. Nezha’s master was Immortal Taiyi, while Immortal Taiyi’s master is…” At that point, he paused to give Li Mu a half-hearted smile. Then, he said, “Well, what do you say? Do you need me to continue?”
A storm raged in Li Mu’s heart.
“What the hell?”
“The crown prince of the Great Moon Empire is familiar with The Legend of Deification?”
“You do know a lot.” Li Mu smiled. “But there is one question I want to ask you. You will have my respect if you know that answer.”
Yu Hualong, the crown prince, laughed. “Go ahead.”
With a smirk, Li Mu asked, “Why was Nezha named Nezha?”
Yu Hualong was speechless.
“What the heck is that?”
Li Mu continued, “Li Jing had three sons. The oldest one was called Jinzha, the second Muzha, so the third son ought to be…” He looked back at Yuan Hou and said, “You tell me, following basic logic, what should the third son’s name be?”
Yuan Hou was in a daze for a few moments. It never knew Li Mu would pose a question to it. Without much deliberation, it answered, “He should be called Shuizha. Jin refers to gold, and Mu refers to wood. That follows the order of the five elements— gold, wood, water, fire, and earth. So, if there were ever the fourth and the fifth sons, they should be called Huozha and Tuzha, because Huo means fire and Tu means earth.”
Li Mu was very pleased to hear that answer. “Good. The best supporting actor goes to you!”
But Yu Hualong was kind of nonplussed. “Is that even a proper quiz?”
“Yeah. Why was the third son called Nezha instead of Shuizha?” Inquired the Huskie, who seemed quite intrigued.
The dog was not playing dumb. The question truly got it.
At that moment, Yu Hualong felt he might lose it.
“Is Li Mu a fool?”
“Is now the time for a brain twister?”
“Can’t you react like a normal person?”
“Lord Li, aren’t you curious about how I knew all that?” The crown prince tried to veer the conversation back to the right track.
Li Mu nodded. But the instant the crown prince took on a relieved look, he added, “Yes, I’m not curious at all.”
Yu Hualong almost spilled a mouth of blood.
“Why did you nod if your answer is negative?”
Li Mu grinned. “The kid has lurked in Longcheng Pass for half a year and spent all his daytime here simply to wait for my arrival. He must have long prepared his speech for this occasion. He will definitely lead me on with a pre-conceived conversation. Of course, I won’t play with his rules. If I keep talking as he expected, I will fall right to the trap he laid for me, and that will suit him exceeding well, am I right?”
Language tricks and the guide of the train of thoughts were always the most dreadful methods to lead somebody on.
Li Mu adopted the same strategy to turn down the envoy of Lord Qu from Southern Chu the last time.
But unlike the last time, Li Mu could not really treat the crown prince of the Great Moon Empire in the same way as he treated Lord Qu’s envoy.
Li Mu drew a long breath, waved at him, and began, “Okay. You won’t give it up if we keep talking like this. Well then… let me see what you’ve got. Brother Wu, take Caicai and Granny Cai to the outside.” Then, he turned to Yu Hualong and said, “Don’t you want everybody out?”
Yu Hualong, the crown prince of the Great Moon Empire, took a deep breath before saying, “Right.”
Before Li Mu said anything else, Qiu Yin already caught on what Li Mu was about to do. He winked at his third brother, cautioning him to be careful. After that, he, Yuan Hou, the Huskie, and the Goddess of Martial Arts brought Daji the white fox and the others out of the yard.
Bai Mochou gave a cold laugh and snapped, “Humph! Like we want to stay here!” Then, she turned around and took off, too.
Soon, Li Mu and Yu Hualong had the entire place to themselves.
Yu Hualong smiled and slowly headed for the table.
With each step he took, rings of peculiar Taoist energy rippled about on the floor, forming a unique tactical deployment that quickly spread across the entire residence. It was a restriction that could block any eavesdroppers out.
Li Mu’s heart lurched at that scene.
Because what Yu Hualong just displayed was not the star magic art of that planet but a Taoist magic art.
The dishes on the table had not gone completely cold at that time. Yu Hualong cleansed two cups and filled them with liquor. He then lifted a hand and said, “Lord Li, please take a seat. There are four most delightful events in one’s life— having a welcome rain after a long drought, encountering an old friend in alien places, enjoying the wedding night, and finding your name on the published list of successful candidates… Now that we are experiencing the second most delightful event, could you please have a drink with me?”
Li Mu sat down at the table, lifted the cup, and drained it.
Sure, he was during the second greatest event— encountering an old friend in an alien place.
Yu Hualong also took a sip of the liquor. Then, he suddenly changed the direction of the conversation. “I was wondering how much Lord Li knows about the Great Moon Empire?”
Li Mu said, “It was a great empire that once exercised control over the Divine Land 1,000 years ago. Later, it was overturned and replaced by the current three empires. That’s all I know… What happened 1,000 years ago was too remote. Not many people care about it now. Fewer would bother to figure it out.”
“Yeah, it’s so remote that most people in this world have even forgotten that the Great Moon Empire had existed.” Yu Hualong sighed, then, he went on. “Despite others’ aloofness on this issue, you, Lord Li, can’t stay aloof and stop investigating it.”
Li Mu immediately countered, “On what ground did you say that? Is the Great Moon Empire in my debt or something?”
Having adjusted himself to Li Mu’s habitual contradictions, Yu Hualong did not mind that ridicule. He had a bite of the pork, put down the chopsticks, and said mildly, “Because the founding fathers of the Great Moon Empire were from the same place as Lord Li is.”
You’re reading Chapter 355 – Shuizha on readnovels.co. Wish you happy reading! Follow more great stories at action novel.