If the Giant Dragon Mountain Range resembled a beast entrenched in the sea, then Dongting Lake was a jewel in the beast’s mouth. 1
As a lake within an ocean, it could be considered a miracle. Moreover, the water here was different from the water of the Dragon Demon Sea.
The lake was surrounded by undulating mountains that formed a circle. There were still blue waves within the lake. The islands in the vicinity were quite beautiful as well.
Dongting Lake was both the name of this region and the name of a lineage.
In the Heaven Spirit World, if the Exquisite Valley was the largest human lineage and Peacock Land was its largest diaspora, then Dongting Lake would be the human race’s third largest base and its second-biggest lineage.
According to legend, the lake was established by several powerful sages of the human race. Even now, it was quite populated and held considerable influence.
Of course, it couldn’t compare to the Exquisite Valley, but it was still an ideal home for humans.
There was a difference between the lake and Peacock Land. Humans at Peacock Land were unrestrained, but this wasn’t the case for those at the lake. If they weren’t disciples of the lake, then both cultivators and mortals must accept the management of the sect in order to stay.
In the Heaven Spirit World, land was a precious commodity. A place like Dongting Lake was even more precious. It had plenty of space and was close to the dragon mountain as well as Rainbow City. More importantly, it was rich with various kinds of treasures.
The mountains nearby were full of spirit vegetation. The lake itself also produced many rare treasures. There were rumors of a spring below the lake with plenty of divine metals and ores.
In principle, the people in the Heaven Spirit World would always desire any location with land. This was especially true for a treasure land like Dongting Lake.
In the Dragon Demon Sea, the sea clans were extremely powerful with untouchable authorities! But strangely enough, no one tried to take over a wonderful location like Dongting Lake.
One could say that Dongting Lake was as powerful as a sect. After all, it was considered a great power at the Heaven Spirit World. However, it was inferior to an imperial lineage or a sea god’s sect.
Ordinary great powers wouldn’t be able to eat the fat piece of meat that is the lake, but unparalleled lineages like the Seven Martial Pavilion and the Roaring Conch were definitely capable. Strangely enough, they didn’t touch the lake. It was something worth musing.
Various theories arose about the reason the lake was able to exist until now. Some believed that the sect itself was strong enough and the location was easy to defend while hard to attack. Another theory was that the pavilion and conch didn’t care for the lake.
Li Qiye was not anxious to catch up to the horse that had snuck into the sea. He had left behind his mark so he could chase it at any time. Various emotions resurfaced in his mind after seeing the jewel of the ocean — Dongting Lake. Eventually, he landed on the lake and took a stroll.
He went up to one of the islands and decided to walk barefoot through the soft sand to feel the land. There was an indescribable sensation of comfort as well as a great sense of remembrance.
There were eighteen different forts at the lake, each with their own beautiful sceneries such as the resplendent sun shining down on the lake’s surface that was as blue as jade… There were plenty of such locations in this area.
However, Li Qiye’s favorite was the “thousand carps playing in the water”. He enjoyed watching this pretty scene the most.
Because of this, he came to this particular bay and prepared a large bowl of bait. Stomping on the sand while looking at the blue lake granted him serenity and satisfaction.
“Splash!” He grabbed a lot of bait and scattered it into the lake. One carp after another immediately began to appear. They surfaced to seize the bait floating on the surface of the water.
As he threw in more bait, more carps came out to play. The sound of splashing water continuously resounded.
Clusters of fish were now here vying for the food. Beads of water splashed and were illuminated by the bright sun. These carp came in all types and colors. Some were purple while others were a scintillating gold…
The myriad colors twinkled under the sun. These lights interwove with the waves and created little rainbows that were extremely beautiful.
After throwing out all the bait, he simply sat on the sand-laden bay to watch the carps. He relished every second and seemed to forget about everything. The past was no more, his worries carried away by the wind while everything else disappeared like clouds and smoke.
Eventually, all the bait was consumed and the carps dispersed. The crashing ripples calmed as if nothing had happened.
There was a grin on his face as he rested his legs in the refreshing water of the lake.
At this time, he had traveled through space and time to a distant era when he did the exact same thing. Soaking in the lake offered him a rare sense of invigoration. Some carps curiously swam over.
One would feel that everything happens for a reason. Thinking of this, Li Qiye began to smile. There were too many memories in life, but very few moments of happiness. However, just this little amount was precious enough.
Water suddenly splashed with crashing waves, breaking the tranquility of the bay.
“Hey, where is your label?” Li Qiye was woken up by this call. He looked forward and saw a ship approaching him.
It was a medium-sized warship wrapped in armor with a very sharp look. A middle-aged man was standing at the bow. Just one glance was enough to tell that he was a human cultivator. His robe had a sandy color and was embroidered with the insignia of Dongting Lake, letting others know that he was its disciple.
Li Qiye slightly frowned and asked: “Label, what label?”
“Anyone who comes to Dongting Lake must register with us to be given a label. Otherwise, they must disclose their identity.” The middle-aged man lowered his tone.
Li Qiye lazily replied with a carefree expression: “Is that so? There’s no need to ask me for this label or whatever, return from whence you came.”
“You!” The man felt provoked by Li Qiye’s attitude. He glared at him, wanting to get off the ship to question him.
However, before he could get down, someone stopped him. It was a woman who said: “Supervisor Yu, leave it to me.”
Her voice was very clear and soft, yet also had a hint of directness and boldness.
The middle-aged man coldly stared at Li Qiye then snorted before going back inside the ship.
“May I ask for your name?” She looked at him and calmly said: “I am Hong Yujiao, a disciple of Dongting Lake. Patrolling the lake is our responsibility.”
This woman was very beautiful. Even though she was not as kingdom-toppling as Zhuo Jianshi’s bunch, she had her own style and wore a tight bluish-green dress. It wrapped her body and revealed all the curves of her figure. Her towering soft breasts were plump enough to accentuate her slender waist. Such an outfit seemed like it was built for someone who often dives into the water.
She had a little makeup on her face, making her even more charming. Her willowy brows carried both a touch of femininity and a hint of tenacity. Her spirited pair of round and large eyes were bright, giving off a sharp and determined sensation.
Despite not being a kingdom-toppling beauty, her firm and resolute demeanor made her quite attractive. This was a woman with a straightforward style.
“Surname Hong?” Li Qiye raised his brows and looked at her.
“Yes, I am Hong Yujiao. May I ask for your name and where you are from?” She cupped her fists decisively like a man would. This was a woman who wouldn’t concede to men. 2
In fact, claiming herself as a disciple was a very modest way to put it. The Hong Clan had an exceedingly pivotal status at Dongting Lake. Their clan had always been a pillar of this location.
Li Qiye closed his eyes, showing his lack of interest: “I am only a passerby. Where I’m from and what my name is are not important.”
She calmly replied: “Sir, I hope you can understand that this is for the safety of the lake. We require everyone to register with us. Please be considerate.”
1. Dongting is a real lake so I kept the pinyin. Literal name is “Grotto Court Lake”. 2. This particular idiom is difficult to keep the raw form. However, it is definitely praising a woman despite the discriminatory origin/nature of the phrase in ancient China. The raw is, “a headdress (woman) won’t yield to beard and brows (man). Back in ancient times, women were called “headdresses” and men were called “beard and brows”. These are literary terms used when the author wants to exaggerate the masculine and feminine aspects of the respective sexes, often in a positive manner, but it can be derogatory as well.