Chapter 4: A Monster!
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Luo Shiyu walked away full of worry while Li Nianfan resumed his Buddhist way of living—making music, planting flowers, fishing, and sometimes even writing poems and painting when he was in the mood.
One day, he was fishing by the pond in his backyard. Blackie was resting by his feet, watching him peacefully.
“That’s strange. I always put in lots of krill every month. Why can’t I get any fish?” Li Nianfan frowned as he held onto his fishing rod. He looked at Blackie with suspicion. “Have you eaten them all? I remember putting in a golden carp, but I don’t see it anywhere!”
Blackie jumped up instantly. He innocently looked up at Li Nianfan with his puppy eyes and shook his head as if he was human.
“Well, I guess I’ll have to go downtown and buy some krill.” Li Nianfan did not dwell further on this. Since he did not catch any fish, he kept the rod and prepared to leave his house.
Fishing gave one a sense of inner peace and relaxation. Li Nianfan enjoyed this sensation, and he enjoyed savoring the fresh meat of his catch even more! Unfortunately, he had no such luck today.
“Xiao Bai, stay back and guard the house.”
“Sure thing, my beloved master.”
Bringing Blackie along with him, the owner and his pet dog walked down the mountain together.
While living in this hidden valley for the past five years, Li Nianfan did not completely lose touch with the world since he was not a cultivator anyway, or so he thought. He would have gone crazy without any human contact for so long. There was a town not far from where he lived which was known as the Fallen Town. There were mostly ordinary people there, though occasionally, the cultivators passed by. Rumor had it that the cultivators were accepting ordinary men as disciples by fate in that town.
“Oh, Mr. Li’s here!”
“Hey, Mr. Li, come check out my freshly baked steamed buns! Free of charge!”
“Mr. Li, what’re you buying this time? Please, stay a little longer!”
“Yeah, Mr. Li, I have lots of advice to seek from you!”
As he entered the Fallen Town, many familiar faces greeted him. He seldom came down to town in the past five years. Although he was not a cultivator, he had acquired countless amazing skills under the training of the System. Sometimes, he would share some eye-opening knowledge with the ordinary men here in town. He even treated some ill patients here with his advanced knowledge. Many of the people here had received favors from him.
Li Nianfan smiled and greeted them back with respect. He walked to the market place and stopped in front of a fishmonger’s stall.
“Mr. Li! Here for some krill again?” The owner of the stall greeted him with a smile. He knew Li Nianfan well.
Li Nianfan nodded. “Yeah, I’d like more this time. Double the amount I usually buy!”
“Sure!” As he packed the order, the owner asked, “Mr. Li, didn’t you buy some not too long ago? Why do you still need this much?”
Li Nianfan sighed. “Don’t remind me. I remember putting all the krill into the pond but I couldn’t catch any fish at all!”
The owner halted in his steps. In a serious tone, he warned, “Mr. Li, this is strange.”
“I think so, too.”
The owner warned him again. “Mr. Li, I’d be careful if I were you. There might be a monster lurking in the pond. Do stay away for your safety.”
Li Nianfan was frightened for a moment. Could there really be a monster inside the pond? A monster that ate all the fishes?
He was afraid, but he had lived there for almost five years now and he was reluctant to move. Even if he wanted to move, he did not have anywhere else to live.
“Mr. Li, I’ve got a tortoise here. This kind of tortoise will remain in its place in the pond and will surface for some sunlight every afternoon. You can put it inside the pond, and if it’s safe, that means your pond is safe,” the owner suggested.
This was literally using the tortoise to test the water. If it did not come out of the pond, then it was most likely to have been eaten by the monster.
Li Nianfan’s eyes glinted with delight. He said, “Yes, I’ll buy this tortoise, please!”
“Mr. Li, if it weren’t for you, my stall would’ve shut down a long time ago. This tortoise is young and not a precious breed, so I’ll give it to you free of charge!”
In the end, he got the tortoise as a gift for buying the krill. Li Nianfan carried the krill and tortoise in his hands, ready to test if there was a monster lurking inside his pond.
When he arrived at the entrance of the town, he realized that a crowd had gathered. Among the crowd, a middle-aged woman was sobbing on the ground.
Li Nianfan went forward and asked, “Auntie Zhang, what happened?”
Auntie Zhang was a kind-hearted woman. When Li Nianfan first arrived at this cultivating realm of immortals, she had helped him a lot.
When she saw Li Nianfan, a glint of hope appeared in her eyes. “Mr. Li, you’re a capable man. Please, I’m begging you to save Nanan. She was captured but a monster!”
“Nanan was captured by a monster?” Li Nianfan asked worriedly. He was terrified by the news.
He could not help but recall images of that cute and cheerful little girl. He remembered Nanan very well, with her two pigtail braids. Whenever she saw him, she would call him ‘big brother’. She was so lovely, like an angel.
“Auntie Zhang, you’re panicking! Although Mr. Li’s a wise man, he’s just an ordinary man, after all. It’s way too dangerous to send him there!”
“Yeah, I think you shouldn’t worry too much. Aren’t there three cultivators making their way up the hill? They’ll save Nanan for sure.”
“The three of them were no ordinary people. Nanan will be fine.”
“Argh, what world is this! Why’s the monster troubling the Fallen Town?!”
The crowd gossiped among themselves. As much as they wanted to help, they were unable to do so.
Li Nianfan thought for a while. He comforted her, “Auntie Zhang, don’t panic. I’ll go and have a look. I promise to bring Nanan home today.”
“Thank you, Mr. Li! Thank you, Mr. Li!” Auntie Zhang thanked him with confidence. She trusted Li Nianfan more than the three cultivators who were sent up there.
“Mr. Li, monsters have evil spirits! It’s too dangerous to go!”
“Yeah, we’re ordinary people. We should just report this to the Immortal Officers and have them send some cultivators to deal with it.”
Lots of people started to talk Li Nianfan out of it, concerned for his safety.
He reassured them, “Didn’t three cultivators already go? I’ll just follow them and see if there’s anything I can help them with. Thank you for your concern.” He had made up his mind, and after finding out the location, he made his way there.
The monster escaped to a mountain not far away. Li Nianfan was coming up with tactics as he climbed up the mountain. The most ideal scenario would be the monster being defeated by the three cultivators with him watching from the sidelines. However, if the three of them were no match to the monster, Li Nianfan could only hope for the best and have faith in the jade given to him by Luo Shiyu. He knew that Luo Shiyu was a cultivator of high status, so he could only hope that the jade would help him out when needed.
Li Nianfan hurried, fearing to take a break. He had heard that the monsters would eat humans. Should he be a second too late, Nanan could very well be eaten by the monster!
“Nanan must stay safe,” Li Nianfan mumbled.
Suddenly, Blackie sped up, turning into a stream of black shadow that raced forward.
“Blackie, what’re you doing! Now’s not the time to mess around. Stop!” Li Nianfan yelled after him as he saw Blackie disappearing out of sight. He was furious and worried. “What a stupid dog! Is he rushing there to get killed!?”