Chapter 391 – Emerging from Secluded Cultivation
In the depths of the bamboo forest, Xiao An sat on the step, leaning on her cheek as she waited.
The sky was covered by an array of stars. He still did not return tonight.
Because Liu Chuanfeng was in secluded cultivation, and Li Qingshan was regularly out, the two little disciples were with Sun Fubai. Cloudwisp island was truly empty now. All she could hear was the wind rustling through the bamboo forest. Fallen leaves covered the path once more.
Just as she felt rather depressed, she suddenly heard the sound of steps, trudging through the fallen leaves.
Xiao An raised her head and saw Li Qingshan’s smiling face as he strode over.
“Xiao An, why are you… Oh what did I do? I actually forgot to tell you! You’ve waited for quite some time now, haven’t you?” Li Qingshan smacked his head and blamed himself.
Xiao An shook her head. “Not too long.”
Li Qingshan picked her up and placed her on his knee. “How have you been going with forging prayer beads lately? Has One Thought been troubling you? Oh right, I came across something good recently.” Before Xiao An could answer him, he took off on a ramble.
Originally, Xiao An wanted to persuade him to reconsider something, but seeing this, she gave up on it. As long as he was happy.
At this moment, Han Qiongzhi had returned to the school of Legalism, asking for Wang Pushi to punish her.
Wang Pushi saw how she was brimming with joy, giving off a sense of femininity. He was unable to blame her. He just said, “That kid has had it easy. Don’t forget to visit the office tomorrow.”
Han Qiongzhi returned to her residence on the island, but she saw a figure pacing around outside. She exclaimed in surprise, “Tieyi!” She immediately grew stern. “Did father tell you to come?”
“Yes.” Han Tieyi said nothing more, handing a pile of spiritual stones and pills to her.
“Why’s there so much?”
“Because you’ve reached the tenth layer.” Han Tieyi was expressionless, but when he saw the happiness and joy in the corner of her eyes, he felt happy for her. In order to open the twelve ordinary meridians, her demand for pills would obviously increase.
“Father, he doesn’t… blame me?” Han Qiongzhi widened her eyes in some disbelief.
Then Han Tieyi repeated Han Anjun’s words to her.
“What kind of reason is that? Just because of this random reason, he’s preventing his daughter from getting married? That’s far too irresponsible of him! He even has the nerve to call himself what holds me back? That old man is completely overestimated himself! It’s not like I’m you!”
Han Qiongzhi said loudly, but she was rather touched inside. No matter what, everything that man had done was for her sake. It also brought her relief and indescribable happiness. No matter how unhappy she said she was with him, her father still bore a hefty weight in her heart.
The two of them spoke a little more. Han Tieyi had quite a fatherly bearing. He remained silent most of the time and did not say much before bidding her farewell.
Right before he left, Han Tieyi stopped and looked back. He added, “You’re still a person of the Han family. I hope you can place your focus on your cultivation in the future!”
“I don’t need you to lecture your elder sister. You better just keep an eye on yourself first. You should go!” Han Qiongzhi was eager to share this good news with Li Qingshan.
Han Tieyi could tell from a single glance that she was not listening, so he shook his head slightly. Once love became involved, people seemed to become stupid, just like that friend of his. Normally, he was so clever, but he was obsessed with an unattainable woman, wasting away his time and future.
After Han Tieyi left, Han Qiongzhi rushed straight to Cloudwisp island. Following a short parting, they immediately saw each other again. Xiao An took her leave on her own accord, and another night of entanglement followed.
The next day, Wang Pushi’s face was sunken. He had waited in the Hawkwolf Guard for quite a while, but Han Qiongzhi still did not come. He was absolutely furious. He decided to place this debt under Li Qingshan’s name. He completely deserved it.
In the end, he let out a long sigh. “Women are just unreliable. Little Hua, hurry up and emerge!”
Time passed quickly. In the blink of an eye, spring was gone and autumn was already here. The endless autumn rain began.
There was a rumble of thunder in the seclusion dwellings below Contention island. Lightning criss-crossed and flashed, passing through the stone walls and formation that were originally impenetrable, like ghosts of another world.
Quite a while longer, the door that had remained shut for a very long time opened once more. Hua Chengzan emerged, and there was an additional hint of exceptional confidence on his handsome face. A figure appeared in his brain. At least I have the right to serve as your chess piece now, right?
“Did I really trouble miss Hua into delivering this in person?”
Li Qingshan accepted an invitation from Hua Chenglu and studied the woman in front of him. Women really did change quickly in physical appearance. When he first saw her, she was just an unpresentable little girl, but she had become a great beauty now.
“Both of you are good friends of my elder brother. I really must apologise over the fact that my elder brother couldn’t invite you in person,” Hua Chenglu replied courteously, giving off the air of a young miss of an influential family.
“Chenglu, why do I feel like you don’t speak as freely as before?” Han Qiongzhi grabbed her hands with a smile and pulled her in, pinching her tender cheeks.
Han Qiongzhi had always treated Hua Chenglu as her younger sister. The two of them had played together since young. They were on extremely good terms.
“Stop messing around, elder sister. I’m afraid if I act with too much familiarity, I’ll make you jealous,” Hua Chenglu blushed slightly. She glanced at Li Qingshan and giggled.
Now, everyone in the academy knew about their relationship, but the development in the end took everyone by surprise. They did not end up seeing the elopement from the Han family that they had wanted to see.
Han Qiongzhi still returned home when she was supposed to. Li Qingshan even continued to visit Great War island for training. He did not seem to have any disagreements with Han Anjun either, this pseudo-father-in-law of his.
As a result, the rumors and gossip vanished. For cultivators, settling down for life and becoming partners of cultivation had always been commonplace. There was not as much etiquette and courtesy to follow like regular people.
“You’re nowhere close to being your elder sister’s opponent.”
Li Qingshan stowed the invitation away. “Alright, I’ll definitely go when the time comes. He’s finally succeeded with Foundation Establishment!”
“My elder brother will definitely become an exceptional cultivator.” Hua Chenglu said proudly.
“Tell me, you were ogling Chenglu earlier, weren’t you?” After Hua Chenglu left, Han Qiongzhi wrapped her arm around Li Qingshan’s neck and climbed on top of him, curling her lips and asking loudly.
“Everyone has an appreciation for beauty. You might be my only woman, but you can’t take my right to admire other women away from me. Heh, weren’t you pretty confident earlier?” Li Qingshan shifted his gaze.
“That’s your problem!” Han Qiongzhi’s face grew closer.
“My wife, don’t worry. The little girl has none of your perks. You better deal with my problem first!” Li Qingshan picked up Han Qiongzhi with a chuckle and made his way into the house.
The estate of the Hua family that stood like a city was decorated with lanterns and streamers. A jubilant atmosphere filled the whole place.
It did not seem like a banquet and was more like a grand ceremony instead.
To cultivators, nothing was more important or worth celebrating than breaking through, even when compared to marriage, having children, or the four joys of life.
As a result, the Hua family invited guests from everywhere. It was the time for guests to arrive. Flying avians and soaring ships arrived one after another with cultivators. There were plenty of Foundation Establishment cultivators too.
Among all of that, a cloud passed through the rain and landed at the entrance.
The main entrance was open with people flowing in and out. Li Qingshan stepped into the city, and the rain stopped.
The formation above the city was activated. The rain landed on the invisible, spherical barrier and slid down. Under the illumination of the entire city’s lanterns, it was beautiful.
Han Qiongzhi pushed aside the servant who had come to lead the way. The servant clearly recognised Han Qiongzhi, so he backed away without even asking to see the invitation.
With great familiarity, Han Qiongzhi moved through the meandering corridors and arrived before a huge building that stood like a tower in the centre of the city. It was like a glorious, burning tree that reached towards the sky.
Under the tree of fire, the siblings, Hua Chengzan and Hua Chenglu, personally received guests at the entrance. They were dressed splendidly. Standing under the lustrous lantern light, they seemed like a match made in heaven. All of the guests saw them and gasped in admiration.
In particular, Hua Chengzan was already quite a rare, handsome man in the world. After establishing a foundation, he only seemed more romantic. The gazes of the female cultivators passing by were almost sucked over to him.
“Qingshan, Qiongzhi, you’ve come.” Hua Chengzan spotted the pair and went up to receive them with a smile. He did not grow arrogant with his increase in cultivation. He was just as gentle and refined as before, which made him seem as pleasant as the spring breeze. His smile had even grown more sincere than before.
Although it had been quite some time since they had seen him, they did not find him to be foreign at all. Instead, they found him more familiar than ever.
“That’s right. You were in there for so long that I even thought you had died in there!” Li Qingshan patted his shoulder with a smile, but Han Qiongzhi smacked him instead. “You better stop with the unlucky words on such a joyous occasion.”
Hua Chengzan’s smiling gaze moved between the two of them. “You really have… When I first heard about it, I leapt in fright. Who was the one who told me there was no point in having a man?”
“I just found him pitiful, that’s all,” Han Qiongzhi reddened and tried rebuking him.
“And who was the one who told me he didn’t know what being deeply in love was?”
Li Qingshan coughed dryly. “I was just playing along back then.”
“So you were always playing along with me?” “You’ve misheard. I said I was just ignorant because of my age, ignorant because of my age.”
Hua Chengzan laughed aloud and patted Li Qingshan’s shoulder. “Then do you understand me a little now?”
Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. “You still haven’t forgotten.”
Hua Chengzan asked, “Have you forgotten?”
“Forgotten what?” Hua Chenglu and Han Qiongzhi butted in at the same time. With their sharp instincts as women, they could sense that something was amiss.
“Difficult to say,” Li Qingshan chuckled and exchanged glances with Hua Chengzan. They understood each other. Who would have thought that their friendship originally blossomed because they fancied the same woman?
“You should go in first. I’ll come and find you later.”
At this moment, more guests arrived, so Hua Chengzan said that before going off to receive them.
“You better explain yourself. What is it?”
As the two of them entered the building, Han Qiongzhi pestered him. All Li Qingshan could do was change the topic constantly. When he became tired of her questioning, he said, “This is a secret among men. Why’re you trying to get involved as a woman?”
Li Qingshan stopped and looked back. Hua Chengzan’s face shone with happiness as he received and saw off guests. His picturesque appearance was dashing, even enough for the hearts of men to skip a beat. The heavens had endowed him with the beautiful appearance of a matchless romantic, but they just happened to make him fall in love with an unattainable woman at the same time. Were the heavens toying with him?
Forget? He obviously could not forget. After all, the memory from back then had left such a deep impression, but there was no need for it to linger on his mind constantly. Cherishing the person in front of him was most important, right?
He smiled as he tried to coax the unhappy Han Qiongzhi. He simply could not understand the thoughts of someone infatuated!
At this moment, a familiar figure appeared at the entrance. His face was bleak as his green clothes drifted about.