Chapter 41 – The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty
The advisor could only oblige. The district magistrate’s desire for silver had already surpassed his fear towards the Black Wind stronghold. It was impossible for him to change his mind through persuasion, and the Black Wind stronghold was probably not bold enough to openly kill a government official.
The fat magistrate’s mighty aura suddenly subsided, and he whispered, “It’s not like I killed them. The master of the Black Wind stronghold shouldn’t come looking for trouble with me just over this, right?”
The advisor fiddled with his thin mustache. “They shouldn’t, but just in case, seek help from your younger sister. Get the prefect to send reinforcements.”
The fat magistrate said, “Yep. He might be the prefect, but he’s still my brother-in-law. We’re one family. As long as he sends a single Hawkwolf guard, we won’t need to be afraid of anything.” The official had a fat and coarse appearance, but his younger sister just happened to be as beautiful as a flower. The prefect chose her as a concubine and deeply adored her. The fat magistrate’s status rose with this, and he had pleaded with his sister to pressure the prefect into giving him a government position.
However, the perfect disliked him, so he assigned him to the distant Qingyang city as the district magistrate without much thought. The prefect gave him no chance to abuse his position and sent him away from his sister. It was two birds with one stone.
The advisor thought, How can the Hawkwolf guards be sent over so easily? We would be fine even if we just had some guards from the prefect’s estate. “Then what about Li Qingshan?”
The fat magistrate considered that and replied, “At the end of the day, he’s still my savior. When I see him, I’ll give him some silver and send him off elsewhere. The Clear River prefecture is so large, so where can’t he go?”
In the Drawn Reins village, Huang Binghu received the news. At first, he was surprised, but then he laughed aloud. “Nicely done!” Ever since he drank the spiritual alcohol, his sickliness had vanished. Now, he was filled with vigour and emitted a healthy glow. Not only had his martial arts recovered, but he had even made great progress.
“Hunting chief, he offended the Black Wind stronghold like this, so isn’t it creating trouble for the Drawn Reins village? He carries your Stone Splitter bow. You shouldn’t have given it to him in the first place, and now he has vanished. He has probably fled now.”
Xiao Hei felt unhappy inside. Although he was afraid of seeking revenge for himself after suffering under Li Qingshan’s hands in the market, he still felt some resentment. He was supposed to be one of the best of the best among the younger generation, but Li Qingshan’s arrival had completely overshadowed him. Now that Li Qingshan was receiving so much attention, he felt jealous.
Huang Binghu said, “If the Black Wind stronghold comes knocking, we’ll receive whatever they throw at us. However, he won’t run, much less seek protection from us. I’m just a Sickly Tiger. He’s a true, vicious tiger that has descended from the mountains.”
As a result, ‘Descended Tiger’ became Li Qingshan’s first nickname.
When the several dozen bandit heads were hung up on the city walls, Li Qingshan’s name spread as far as possible.
Large flakes of snow fell from the sky. In the middle of the night, a dark shadow moved across the top of the walls and removed the third boss’ head. Subsequently, they rode back to the Black Wind stronghold hastily on a horse, delivering the head to the master of the stronghold, Xiong Xiangwu.
Xiong Xiangwu was just like his nickname. Not only was he abnormally big, but he was also covered in dense, dark hair. From afar, he seemed like a black bear. It was possible to tell with a single glance that he had been born with natural strength. He stood up and looked around. Whether it be the bosses to his sides or the bandits in the surroundings, no one dared to emit a peep of sound.
Bang! His huge hand that seemed like a bear’s paw slammed down, crushing both the head and the heavy rosewood table to pieces. “This is the fate that the useless suffer! This is also the fate of those who are bold enough to provoke me!”
Wood shrapnel shot into the surroundings, piercing the faces of the bandits nearby, but none of them dared to make a sound.
The second boss waved his folding fan. Surprisingly, he was a middle-aged man dressed like a scholar. Despite the current weather, he only wore a long gown, which demonstrated his dense inner force. “Master of the stronghold, the third boss was heavily injured by a sneak attack using the Stone Splitter bow, which was why that kid managed to defeat him.”
“The Stone Splitter bow? Huang Binghu!” A sliver of vigilance appeared in Xiong Xiangwu’s eyes. “Isn’t he seriously ill?”
“It’s said that he has recovered!” Xiong Xiangwu’s forehead wrinkled together as he sank into his thoughts.
On Bailao peak, Yang Jun asked, “Haven’t you found it yet?”His anger twisted his handsome face. He was a wastrel in the first place, so he never had much patience.
“Young master, I’ve heard of some news recently!” Chi Da said.
“Huang Binghu of the Drawn Reins village has recovered from his illness!”
“How is that possible?” Yang Jun said impatiently.
Chi Da secretly cursed him as useless. “It’s said that his illness is chronic and can only be healed with the spiritual ginseng!”
Yang Jun’s eyes lit up. He was tempted to rush to the Drawn Reins village immediately and get to the bottom of this, but he was not crazy. With a sunken face, he said, “Go ask my father to come here. The spiritual ginseng can’t be digested so easily. Even if he has eaten it, I’ll get him to spit it back out!”
As the world experienced such a clamour, no one noticed that the area behind Li Qingshan’s house had been dug up, and the porcelain jar of white bones had vanished.
As snow fell heavily, the water of the pool became bone-piercingly cold but showed no signs of freezing. Li Qingshan climbed out from the water with blue lips before lying down on the dried grass. He looked at the grey sky beyond the white waterfall, and his breath turned into white mist.
This form of cultivation was basically fatal, but Li Qingshan would only climb out and rest for a bit once all of his strength and true qi had been depleted.
Only after taking a sip of the spiritual alcohol did his body recover its warmth, and the dried up true qi surge again.
A wild beast was roasting on the fire, giving off a heavy fragrance. Xiao An crouched by one side like a professional barbecuer, turning the wooden prong as he sprinkled on the seasoning and cooking alcohol he had brought back from home. He was engrossed in the process.
Seeing Li Qingshan emerge, he sliced off a large chunk of meat with a wave of the hunting blade before delivering the meat to Li Qingshan’s mouth. Only when he watched Li Qingshan wolf it down would he smile.
Li Qingshan’s mouth became all oily before he suddenly became surprised. “You’re not afraid of fire?” Xiao An was afraid of sunlight as well as fire. He was restricted by many things, so it should have been impossible for him to just crouch beside the fire so carelessly. Although today was a gloomy day, Xiao An would still normally hide within the scholar wood tablet, unwilling to come out.
Xiao An faltered, unable to answer.
Li Qingshan smiled. “What ability did you learn from brother ox? It’s not easy to get him to give you something. Why’re you hiding it from me?”
Xiao An hesitated before taking out a porcelain jar from the bushes with difficulty. Li Qingshan opened the lid and a sanguine smell surged froth. Inside was a small, white skeleton, dripping with bright red blood.
The two colors of red and white were extremely dazzling and distinct. It gave off an evil, bloody aura.
Li Qingshan frowned. “What’s this?”
Xiao An was like a child who had done something wrong, standing there silently with his head lowered.
“The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty!” The black ox suddenly appeared and stated those eight words.
“Is this also an ability?”
“Ghosts don’t have a body. They seem to be free, even able to avoid the senses of ordinary people, but when it comes to cultivation, they suffer from natural deficiencies. In addition, they’re afraid of fire and light. They’re suppressed by many techniques.
“But there are ways to deal with this. Absorbing the aura of the living is only the crudest method. As mentioned in the vast buddhist dharma, even great beauty will rot away into white bone upon death. Everyone is made of flesh, skin, and white bone, regardless of appearances. Form is emptiness, and emptiness is form. In a single instant, beauty can turn into a skeleton, while white bone can also grow skin and flesh. An eminent monk of buddhism attempted to attain the fruit of bodhisattvahood, but failed in the end and suffered a backlash of the heavenly tribulation. Filled with an unwillingness to accept this result, demonic thoughts sprang forth. Entering the demonic through buddhism, inverting the powers of dharma, and creating the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, condensing a śarīra of white bone and becoming the White Bone Demon God, calling itself the White Bone Bodhisattva.”