Wealthy Li said: “This is the hundred-folded blade I bought in the Golden Spear Shop in Suncheer City.” He wasn’t a dimwit, how could he not be moved by the death of his wife and child? He was filled with hatred for the witch. This blade was the proof, the proof he was still a hot-blooded man.

But in the end he was still an ordinary farmer. On one side was wine and on another side was a blade, but from beginning to end he never had the resolve to pick up the blade, and he fell day after day in the depression of intoxication, ultimately discovering that he didn’t even have the strength to hold the blade anymore. But he still had kept this blade all along and never used it to exchange for wine.

Wealthy Li tears wildly flowed on his face as he reminisced past events. “I didn’t dare sell this blade. I also can’t sell this blade. If I sold it I would have nothing left.”

Li Qingshan’s thoughts surged but he didn’t bat an eye outwardly. He quietly slid the blade back into its sheath: “If you believe me, then let me take care of this blade. I will certainly give you an accounting.”

Wealthy Li turned around and wave his hand. Li Qingshan strode out, hurrying on the way, itching to cut the witch with one slash of the blade. He only calmed down after returning to his house and training a set of his fist technique.

“Being able to order ghosts, what level of supernatural power is that? How is it compared to my Nine Bulls and Two Tigers?”

“The powerful can commend ten thousand ancestral ghosts, be called ghost emperors, and be friends with G.o.ds and demons. The weak can only bully ordinary people, and their cultivation will not only not be beneficial but instead be harmful. The gloomy chill will invade their bodies, ruining their sanity and perverting their temperament.”

“This witch is naturally the latter type.” Li Qingshan became relieved. He also expected this, otherwise the witch wouldn’t have eaten a kick of his without doing anything back, only taking revenge after waiting for so long.

“Don’t underestimate her. You can’t see the ghost, so you’re unable to guard against many of her methods.”

Li Qingshan’s thoughts made a turn inside his mind: “Elder brother bull, I heard that when people smear bull tears on their eyes, they can see ghosts, is that true?1”

“Don’t get any idea about me, this old bull never shed a tear in its life.”

“When men have tears but don’t shed them out, it is merely because they never met with heart-breaking grief2. Elder brother bull, have you never been heard-broken?”

The green bull turned its bullhead away and ignored him.

Li Qingshan knew that elder brother bull was genuinely bullheaded, so he didn’t try to persuade it any further.

These days the two of them talked often, and he had faintly observed the green bull’s mood. It didn’t want Li Qingshan to rely on itself. Your own road had to be traveled by yourself, and the things you did had to be seen to the end by yourself.

When dusk came, the green bull suddenly gave Li Qingshan a small porcelain bottle. It didn’t explain anything and just walked out. It climbed on the Crouching Bull Hill, and watched the sun set over the hundred thousand mountains.

Li Qingshan opened the bottle. Inside was a transparent light blue liquid. His thoughts jumped and he beamed brightly. He said thanks to the shadow of the green bull’s back. He dipped a blade of wild gra.s.s inside the liquid, and very carefully dripped it into his eyes.

At first he didn’t feel anything, but as time went on he felt his eyes become warmer and warmer, warm enough to boiling hot. Without these days’ arduous cultivation, he would have been about to scream in pain.

Inside the house of green bricks and tiles submerged in smoke, a group of outsiders that came to request a divination watched with wide eyes and open mouths as a charm paper fluttered up in the air. Then it suddenly ignited itself, and the flame was even blue.

They couldn’t see a pale-faced child exerting the utmost of his strength to hold the charm paper up. They only bowed their heads, and with reverence and trepidation they gifted all their silver to the witch, then retreated out backwards.

The witch carefully collected the money, her face suddenly becoming ferocious: “What happened, that Li the Second isn’t dead yet? Did you do things half-heartedly? Do you really need me to sort you out?”

The child’s wooden face exposed fear, desperately shaking his head.

The witch suddenly shook the little bell in her hand, and the child randomly knocked around inside the room in pain, carrying bursts of gloomy wind around that blew the smoke away.

After a long while, the witched stopped in the bell: “Be obedient, listen to grandmother, grandmother wont treat you unfairly.” She gave an embroidery needle as thin as a bull hair to the child: “Take it and go stab his eyes blind.”

The child held the needle with great difficulty and rode the night wind as he flew toward the Crouching Bull Hill.

In the darkness of the night, Li Qingshan was actually sitting inside his courtyard with his eyes closed.

The child went toward him. He raised the embroidery needle and slowly stabbed toward Li Qingshan’s eyes.

In ordinary people’s eyes, there would only be a needle floating on its own in the air, not to mention this needle was extremely thin. Even during the day it would be difficult to see clearly, to say nothing about the dark night.

Li Qingshan seemed to feel something and suddenly opened his eyes. He disregarded the embroidery needle almost within his reach, and fixated the child’s pitch-black eyes with a gaze sharp as a sword: “What are you doing?” His eyes were lively, as if two flames burned within.

At dusk, just when Li Qingshan was hurting until he couldn’t bear anymore, the shred of almost indiscernible breath inside his body had suddenly moved. It traveled to his eyes, and the sensation of pain had immediately reduced by quite a bit.

When the painful sensation of heat vanished, a refres.h.i.+ng feeling moved inside his eyes, filling him with happiness. It was precisely at that moment that the omen of danger emerged in his heart, and he opened his eyes all of a sudden, seeing just in time the little ghost from the previous night holding an embroidery needle and standing in front of him.

He was surprised, and felt a little lingering fear. He originally thought that the witch only had some little tricks with ghosts and would absolutely not a.s.sault him frontally. In any case the little ghost’s gloomy chill couldn’t injure him, so he carelessly underestimated the enemy. If it weren’t for his sudden ability to see ghosts, it would have been difficult to avoid this sinister plot and have his eyes ruined. This way it would have instead been better to act and kill first.

This child was even more surprised and trembled all over from Li Qingshan’s angry stare. The embroidery needle slipped and fell on the ground, while the child floated back, retreating far away.

Li Qingshan carefully examined this little ghost, discovering that he was only six or seven years old, looking very pretty. If not for the pale face, he could really have been like those golden boys and jade maidens who attended the immortals. He wore a gown made from silky gauze, probably his attire before death. He didn’t look like a little enslaved ghost but like a little prince from a great family.

The child realized that Li Qingshan could see him and suddenly didn’t dare move forward. But he was also afraid that he would be punished if he went back without completing the mission, so he didn’t dare leave either, staying rigidly in place.

There was already no fear left in Li Qingshan. It was always the things that couldn’t be seen that were the most terrifying. He could see clearly now and discovered that the child was even more afraid than him. He opened his mouth to ask: “What’s your name, where do you come from?”

No matter what he asked, this child only stayed wooden and didn’t answer. An idea came to Li Qingshan: “You can’t talk?”

The child hesitated a moment then nodded his head.

Li Qingshan thought about how it was only being controlled by the witch. He met misfortune and died at such a young age, and he was maybe even killed by the witch. So Li Qingshan also felt some compa.s.sion and his att.i.tude became a little gentler.

“Yesterday you were glued so close, what are you afraid of now? Come a little closer, I have things to ask you.”

The child saw that his expression had changed and wasn’t so fearsome anymore. He approached a few steps closer with the appearance of an little insecure animal.

Li Qingshan said: “Since you don’t want to talk, just answer by nodding or shaking your head. Do you understand me when I talk like this?”

The child nodded.

This was how a man and a ghost started to communicate.

1. I believe this is a Chinese superst.i.tion.

2. Line from an opera piece based on the novel Water Margin

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