So I Am A Demon Descendent! - chapter 383
Year 1900, the Gengzi year in the lunar calendar.
This was a year of great significance in Chinese history. The Boxer Indemnity, as it was later known, happened this year. In the history of the late Qing Dynasty, much money was paid to for reparation as a result of losing the war, but only the reparations of Gengzi had “a name and a surname”, which were often mentioned separately.
Since it was the largest amount of compensation in China’s history, given China’s material resources, it had to pay 39 years’ worth of instalments.
However, before the tragedy, the backbone of the Qing Dynasty was still stubbornly standing after several tramples. In the minds of the ruling people, it was still a great China and the Kingdom of Heaven.
After the Opium War and the Battle of the Yalu River, this huge thing in the Far East was awakened, but the bloated and corrupt feudal dynasty system impeded its development and sent it on the path to doom.
Beijing, Li residence.
In this place where there were many powerful people, the Li residence had once produced a Minister at the Ministry of Works. It had finally turned its fortunes around after several generations of decline.
Li Qiyun, the head of the family, was a doctor and an official of the Ministry of Works. He was a famous craftsman. Li Rufeng, the eldest son, was better than him. He became the commander of the frontline battalion at a young age. He had the best martial arts in the capital and had a bright future.
In the middle of June, the pomegranate flowers in the yard were blooming red and in clusters, dotted with other gorgeous and cheap flowers in the garden.
Li Rufeng, dressed in military uniform, was summoned to his study by his father before he managed to change into his casual clothes.
Pushing open the door of the study, Li Qiyun leaned back on the big sandalwood chair, lowered his head, looked at the desk, and was stunned.
Li Qiyun had a long beard, a smooth complexion, and looked stern despite not being angry. When he was young, he was famous for his looks among the family. When he was middle-aged, he still had a good demeanor, and his skin tone was top notch.
Li Rufeng called his father twice, gradually aggravating his tone.
Li Qiyun seemed to have just responded. He gave a slight, “Ah,” and looked up. He said, “Rufeng, you are here.”
Li Rufeng sat down and frowned. “Father, why did you call me? You look worried.”
Li Qiyun knocked twice on the desk and pushed the drawing over. “See for yourself.”
Li Rufeng unfolded the drawing with doubts, only to see countless complex runes of different kinds. Besides Taoism and Buddhism, there were no less than seven sects that he recognised.
It took him a long time to confirm that it was a formation.
At the end of the drawing, there were some words: the weapon of the state, the divine power of creation.
“This is…” Li Rufeng was a little uncertain.
“Unparalleled War Spirit,” Li Qiyun said.
“Haven’t they given up yet? Can Li Zhongtang agree?” Li Rufeng’s eyes widened.
The plan for the Unparalleled War Spirit!
The court had been planning the project for 40 years.
We must start from the first Opium War, which was the first time that the Qing Dynasty was opened to the outside world. Although there were firearms at that time, cold weapons were prevalent. Suddenly, they were defeated by a group of foreigners with foreign guns and cannons into submission.
Since then, the dynasty, once famous for its horseback and military forces, had realised how far it had fallen behind.
How could an agricultural civilization beat an industrial civilization?
The state needed to save itself, but how to save it? There were two voices at that time:
1. Learn from the west. Learning from the strong was the instinct of the weak.
2. The Great Deities Palace.
Due to the limitations of the times, people didn’t know that industrial civilisation was the real way out for human civilisation. Since they had been living in China for hundreds of years, they had unreasonable contempt for foreigners.
Therefore, the Great Deities Palace became the choice for the Qing government to save itself.
However, the Great Deities Palace was an illusory legend after all. The die-hards were discouraged after the whole nation pursued the nonexistent illusion.
The westernization movement had begun.
However, the die-hards didn’t give up. If they couldn’t find the Great Deities Palace, they would create their own invincible weapons. Hence, the plan to create the Unparalleled War Spirit was born.
The plan had to be stopped because of many obstacles. First of all, Li Zhongtang, a man of the highest rank, belittled it as a heresy and obscene one. He frankly stated that the rise of a great country was not due to one person or one thing, but was due to all people and all things.
To this day, except for that chair, most of the power of the Qing government had been held by the Han Chinese, and the die-hards had to avoid conflict as a result.
Secondly, there were two core objects missing in the plan for the Unparalleled War Spirit. One was a top-grade treasure, and the other was a top-grade person.
The Qing Dynasty was no longer prosperous at the beginning of its founding. After the Taiping Rebellion, there were no Gokudo Paths in the demon descendants’ community.
The Taiping Rebellion wrecked the Qing Dynasty’s fate. In the history of China, such revolts were rare.
Li Zhongtang’s memorial describes the situation of Jiangsu after the war as follows:
“In densely populated Jiangsu Province, villages were about half a mile apart, and a county was about three miles apart. There was smoke from the kitchen chimneys, and people were familiar with each other. Now, it is deserted and barren, there are several miles without residents, and there are 20 or 30 miles without residents. There are broken walls and solitary ducks. A few people remain, lifeless and agonising to death.”
One could see the magnitude of the disaster.
However, after the defeat at Yalu River and the total annihilation of the Beiyang Navy, the so-called dynastic self rescue movement failed.
For the group which advocated westernization, they were eager to help themselves. This was a major disaster. How many people were discouraged and how many people lost their heads overnight?
“Now, the western countries are covetous, the Boxer Uprising is not over, and there are internal and external troubles. The plan for the Unparalleled War Spirit has been restarted secretly.” Li Qiyun raised the tea cup and put it down again. Actually, he didn’t even feel like drinking tea. “Today, the minister gave me the drawing quietly and took the Empress Dowager’s instructions.”
“What did the Empress Dowager say?”
“Our country has groomed our soldiers. If they are willing to die, it’s hard to diminish our ferocity. Let’s show the power of our country!”
Li Rufeng’s body swayed as he held the corner of the table and gnashed his teeth. “The court is blaming things on uncontrollable circumstances. Women in power are fatuous.”
“Shut up!” Li Qiyun slapped the table angrily and fiercely.
“Father, how about you? How about the Li family?” Li Rufeng said excitedly.
The Li family was a family of blacksmiths. There were many skilled craftsmen in the family. They are all good at making magic weapons, firearms and cold weapons. Li Qiyun was also known as “the modern day Lu Ban”.
The Li family was one of the core forces when the plan for the Unparalleled War Spirit was drawn up.
Firstly, the family was declining day by day. Li Qiyun’s father was eager to revive the family, so he followed suit and recommended himself. Li Qiyun managed to obtain this opportunity as a result of this relationship.
Second, the Li family, as a family of blacksmiths, couldn’t avoid it.
However, the plan for the Unparalleled War Spirit was a dead end that would not work. So many talented people were helpless. How could the Li family do it?
In recent years, the Empress Dowager had become increasingly moody, and had turned violent and cruel.
“The Empress Dowager agreed to take out the Black Water Spirit Bead,” Li Qiyun remarked suddenly.
Li Rufeng suddenly froze for a long time and shook his head. “Even so, where can we find a Gokudo Path for them? Moreover, this formation may not work. It’s all about crossing the river by feeling the stones. Even if there are Gokudo Path masters, they would not be willing to risk themselves.”
“That’s why I came to you.” Li Qiyun looked at his eldest son.
Li Rufeng was the strongest in not only the Li family, but also in the whole northern demon descendants’ community. Everyone in the demon descendants’ community had heard of Li Rufeng, the eldest son of the Li family.
Due to this, he was promoted to commander of the frontline battalion.
The father and son looked at each other for a long time and understood.
Li Rufeng shook his head bitterly. “I’m not even Half-Step Gokudo Path.”
“Your uncle and I will help you to improve your cultivation to Half-Step Gokudo Path. Coupled with the Li family’s strengthening ability, supplemented by the Black Water Spirit Bead and the formation…” Li Qiyun didn’t go on. He was silent for a long time as his eyes teared. “Rufeng, I’m sorry. Your father has let you down. If you don’t want to, I can push this matter to Li Zhongtang.”
There were many people who opposed the plan. Even the Empress Dowager couldn’t be arbitrary in the Qing Dynasty, so she only gave oral instructions.
Li Rufeng thought for a moment and resigned himself to his fate. “That way, the Li family won’t prosper. We will offend those people as well. Moreover, it may not necessarily fail.”
It’s just…It’s just a Gokudo Path. Could it really turn the tides?
“You don’t need to go back to the camp for the time being. Just stay at home… and accompany Wan Ru and Ling’er.”
Li Rufeng was newly married the year before and had a son the next year. He could walk and was learning to talk.
He left his study and turned into the back house, but instead of meeting his wife and son who he had not seen for a long time, he went to another courtyard.
The man had just stepped into the courtyard, and Li Rufeng’s hair stood on end upon hearing a gunshot. His body’s instinctive response was faster than his consciousness, and with an iron bridge technique, escaped the attack.
The wall behind him collapsed.
In the yard, a young girl in a cheongsam stood up with her left hand akimbo and a Mauser rifle in her right hand.
This was the most advanced rifle in the world presently.
The girl giggled and remarked, “Thief, you intruded into my yard without permission. Are you going to steal silver or rape someone?”
The pure amorous feelings that only belonged to girls suddenly descended upon him.
Without waiting for Li Rufeng to speak, she said with a smile, “Let’s talk about silver. I can let you rob my body. What do you think of this little lady?”
She pouted her lips as a signal to her own personal maid Ruyi.
The maid, who was the same age as the young lady, blushed, lowered her head and looked at the tip of her shoes.
“Your personal maid will be sent away with you when you get married in the future. I don’t want to offend my future brother-in-law in advance,” Li Rufeng said as he angrily walked forward and knocked her head. “Stupid lass, do you want to kill your own brother with one shot?”
“Father said that the country is suffering from internal and external troubles, and is volatile now. Brother, you are the commander of the frontline battalion. I have to remind you to keep your vigilance at all times.” The little girl had a sharp tongue.
Li Rufeng took over the Mauser rifle, exerted his strengthening ability, and shot at the courtyard wall. The bullet left a big hole the size of a bowl.
Then, he compared himself to his sister, who collapsed half the wall with one shot.
Li Rufeng shook his head. “It’s a shame. It’s a shame.”
The young girl padded her feet, raised her hand, slipped her sleeve, showed her wrist, and touched Li Rufeng’s head. “A little progress, young child. You have potential.”
Li Rufeng, with a grim expression, spat at her. “Damn it, elder brothers are like fathers, you are more and more unruly.”
The girl covered her face. “An elder brother is like a father, but he asks for his younger sister’s guidance on abilities every day. Aren’t you ashamed?”