Chapter 1184 – Snow Mountain
Time flew. Spring went and summer came.
It was another night with a full moon. Under the weeping willows, beside a pond, Li Qingshan sat with his legs crossed, gazing at the moon in the pond.
Rāhu Xiaoming rested his head on his arms and laid on a round rock nearby. The rock was not large, except his figure had become even smaller than before. Gazing at the sky full of stars, the melancholy on his face had eased up slightly, like the innocence of having just become self-aware, yet also like the clarity before death.
Li Qingshan speculated that he practised a cultivation method like the phoenix’s nirvāṇa. After all, if this really continued until he turned into a tadpole, why would he care so much about staying alive?
Ever since Rāhu Xiaoming left the Asura Field, he remained by his side closely. After so much difficulty, Gu Yanying finally did not need his protection anymore, yet he was now stuck with him instead. All he could do was continue with his job as a bodyguard.
He shut his eyes and began to glow with rainbow light, filling the pond with glorious colours.
Half a month earlier, he had already accumulated enough power of belief in the Divine Talisman of Great Creation. He had only been waiting for this night of the full moon.
Pure spiritual qi raged through his body as he powered the Ape Demon’s Method of Moon Scooping as hard as he could. His heart was filled with joy and happiness, which made him smile. No matter when, the ape demon would always make him feel happy, such that he was almost tempted to dance around and let out a few satisfying howls. However, he held back this urge and continued to cultivate.
As he constantly ventured deeper with cultivation and no longer had to balance the other transformations, his appearance became even more monkey-like. Whenever he smiled, he would always seem rather funny.
Rāhu Xiaoming looked over. His eyes were filled with contempt, but his lips curled into a smile. He had never been in such a good mood before.
He also had his speculations about Li Qingshan’s cultivation method. Although he had almost lost all of his cultivation, his insight remained. Li Qingshan’s changes definitely were not limited to his outer appearance. Instead, something much deeper was changing every single day.
That did not seem particularly unusual to him. The bizarre aspect was the aura that the ape demon gave off. Despite being in its budding stages, he could clearly sense that this definitely was no regular monkey, but some exotic breed of a demon or god. It might have even been one of the four legendary apes. Once it completely matured, its bloodline definitely would not be any weaker than his own.
If that was all, then so be it. Perhaps Li Qingshan was born with a bloodline legacy that he could unleash more of through constant cultivation. However, he had personally seen Li Qingshan possess multiple auras simultaneously. Each aura represented a bloodline, and each bloodline was almost supreme, yet they managed to meld together perfectly.
He definitely had not been born like this. It had to be due to the impact of some cultivation method, but even when he scoured his memories, he was unable to think of any cultivation method that had such an effect.
Perhaps a cultivation method like this could not exist within the six realms of saṃsāra and the trichiliocosm!
Then only one possibility remained…
He looked back at the stars again. His gaze became extremely deep as if it had pierced the night sky and reached an even further and more distant place.
He came to an understanding. Their meeting by chance was perhaps fate!
“Haha, I did it!”
Abruptly, a burst of laughter broke the silence. Li Qingshan’s round, monkeyish eyes were filled with joy.
Without the influence of the other transformations, the cultivation of the Ape Demon Transformation was exceptionally successful. He basically encountered no obstacles at all when he comprehended the first innate ability of the ape demon.
Li Qingshan extended his right arm and cupped his fingers before looking at the moon in the pond. He extended his hand to scoop up the moon, cupping the moon in his hand.
The moon hung high in the sky. The moon in his hand was only an illusion, but at least he had taken another step forwards.
There would be one day when he would make it to the nine heavens and seize the moon!
“Congratulations,” Rāhu Xiaoming said.
Li Qingshan was taken aback. The water trickled between his fingers, flowing back into the pond.
The two of them had spent the past few months together, but any conversation between them remained at a minimum. It was not exactly because they had developed ill will due to the incident on the corpse mountain last time. Even the victim did not care, so why would he cling onto this?
Rāhu Xiaoming declined mentally with each passing day. He spoke very little, rarely answering any questions he was asked, so Li Qingshan obviously would not go out of his way to provoke a response out of him. It was basically epoch-making that he had begun a conversation today, and he had even started it off with something good.
After a moment of silence, Li Qingshan said, “There’s something I’ve always wanted to ask you about.”
“Can people live even if they have no heart?”
“I’m not a person.”
“Then what’s the difference between a person and a god?”
“There’s no difference.”
“I get it. Fuck you! C’mon, let’s go back and have a few cups in celebration!”
Li Qingshan stepped over the pond and picked up Rāhu Xiaoming, making his way towards the estate beaming with lantern light.
The great winds whistled, the dark clouds weighed heavily, and the mountain rain suddenly began to pour.
The tiny town at the foot of the mountain was immediately enveloped by wind and rain. The summer solstice had already passed, but the mountain still glimmered with white snow, which only demonstrated how tall it was. That was where one of the seven great sects of the world, the Snow Mountain sect, was located.
The wind and rain left the sky gloomy. It was only the middle of the afternoon, and the restaurant’s interior had already darkened. They had received almost no customers the entire day. The manager checked through the accounts behind the counter while the waiter leaned against a table and slept away.
The rain had only just begun to fall when a few figures walked in. They were all dressed in snowy-white clothes and carried swords, which made them seem very valiant. Their leader was a woman who wore a bamboo hat that draped down with a pure-white veil, hiding her appearance.
Looking up and noticing who they were, the manager made his way out from behind the counter in a hurry and bowed. “First young miss, you’ve come!”
“Uncle Hong, you’re still the same as before. We’ve come to seek shelter from the rain.” Xue Bing nodded in acknowledgement.
The waiter jerked awake. He wiped down a table and pulled out a chair in a hurry. “First young miss, over here!” He could not help but take a peek. Even with the veil obscuring her appearance, his face still reddened immediately when he met her eyes that were clear like water.
Xue Bing paid no regard to it, while the swordsmen behind her were accustomed to it too. What could they do about the fact that she was one of the Ten Great Beauties of the World? There would always be toads who were swept away by their imaginations.
The manager personally served up a few delicate desserts. “You’ve come without any warning, first young miss, so we couldn’t prepare much. What we have here can’t match what you have on the mountain, so just have some if you’d like.”
“You’re too kind. I’ve come here many times to eat when I was young.”
Xue Bing had no appetite at all, but she still picked up an osmanthus cake out of politeness.
The manager immediately smiled from ear to ear. “Yes, yes. You were still young back then. In the blink of an eye, you’ve become one of the Ten Great Beauties of the World.”
The osmanthus cake that she had just brought to her lips immediately froze. She had never liked that title, and right now, that was the last thing she wanted to hear.
The so-called Ten Great Beauties of the World were just beautiful women chosen from the clans and sects of the four great aristocratic clans and the seven great sects. Their background would come first, while their martial arts would come last in the selection process.
But now, the Ten Great Beauties of the World had been reduced to nine. The greatest aristocratic clan of the northern region, the Ma family, would never be able to produce a beauty again. Meanwhile, the Snow Mountain sect happened to be the greatest sect in the northern region.
After destroying the Ma family, the World’s society had swept up the various other clans and sects in the north. Now, all that remained was the Snow Mountain sect. Their traditional range of influence had been reduced to less than a hundred kilometers across. She had come out with others on patrol, but she noticed that the situation was not optimistic.
The World’s society had not even marched over yet, but the Legend of the White Ape King that contained supreme swordsmanship had already spread through the place a long time ago. Probably even this town had copies of it, as the leader of the Snow Mountain sect high up on the mountain, her father, had a complete collection of it. She had read through it closely as well and was amazed by the swordsmanship it contained. She was even more amazed by the fact that someone would be willing to show this supreme art to others, even pouring their efforts into spreading it.
In the very beginning, she thought that they did not care about the martial arts because it was not theirs, but her father had asserted that the most ingenious part definitely was not by the White Ape King, as even he was unable to comprehend all of it. He could only sense its breadth and extensiveness.
In more pessimistic terms, even if the World’s society did not attack them, the legacy of the Snow Mountain sect would end with them.
Since there was such an easy shortcut to learning unrivaled swordsmanship, who would still take on a master and depend on others for a living? The supreme art of the Snow Mountain sect, the Blizzard Sword Style, had always been taught to only a select few.
The disaster brought by the arrival of the daemon star this time was far greater than last time. The order of the martial arts community that had remained since time immemorial faced unprecedented destruction. Even a great sect like the Snow Mountain sect that had existed for several centuries struggled to remain uninvolved and preserve their lineage, so why would they still care about something like the Ten Great Beauties?
She sank into her thoughts momentarily, which made manager Hong panic. “First young miss, are the desserts not to your liking?”
“Old man Hong, what are you kicking up a fuss here for? Go back to your accounting!” A crude and rash young man waved his hand impatiently before saying enthusiastically to Xue Bing, “Junior sister, you don’t have to worry. As long as I’m around, no one will even touch a hair on you.”
“Damned brat, you only practised martial arts for a few years, yet you talk so big? Speaking of which, the first young miss is such a kind and charming woman. Who can bring themselves to harm her?”
Manager Hong was displeased. He only knew some basic martial arts, so he definitely was not this young man’s opponent. However, this town had always existed together with the Snow Mountain sect. Over the centuries, many of them had ventured up the mountain to learn martial arts, so there was a web of connections between the two. Even when it came to the first young miss of the Snow Mountain sect, he had basically watched her grow up, so he obviously did not fear martial arts practitioners that much.
This was the difference between a sect and a clan. A sect had to accept disciples from everywhere. They were not dominated by a single family and placed a little more emphasis on their reputation. They would not constantly expand and branch out like aristocratic clans either. The mountain could not support too many people, nor did the people there require too many resources. They had disciples to cover all their basic necessities, so all they had to do was maintain a certain range of influence, and that was enough.
“Who else is there? It’s obviously that great demon, Li Qingshan!”
The arrogant young man clearly could not see Xue Bing frown when he mentioned that name.
“Li Qingshan is not a demon. He’s the hero king!”
The waiter who remained on one side quietly suddenly blurted out, which left everyone surprised.
“You’ve lost your mind! You have no place to talk here. Get to work!” manager Hong called out.
“Alright, so there’s a spy from the World’s society here! Just you wait. I’ll teach you a lesson, and you’ll understand whether Li Qingshan is the hero king or a demon!” The haughty young man rolled up his sleeves.
“Even if you beat me to death, Li Qingshan is still the hero king. He’s the saviour of common people like us!”
The waiter turned bright red and called out at the top of his voice.
“Alright, enough. Let’s report back to the mountain once the rain stops!”
Before Xue Bing had finished what she was saying, the restaurant suddenly became illuminated by the lightning, casting a figure’s shadow on the ground.
The thunder seemed to explode right over their heads, shaking up all the plates and bowls. It left everyone’s ears ringing.
A large figure directly barged in with the wind and rain.