Chapter 446 – A Promise of the Past
Li Qingshan received the message and arrived at the Hawkwolf Guard in Clear River city. He entered through the door. “What’s the matter?”
“Kid, we got a mission for you.” Wang Pushi studied the neatly-dressed Li Qingshan and nodded in satisfaction. No matter how unruly he was, he was still a reliable choice.
“What mission?” Li Qingshan thought, Just as expected. He had a rough understanding of the circumstances the academy faced. Fu Qingjin’s actions had instead erased the lingering hint of guilt within him. Even the people who started it all stopped caring, so what was there for him to be guilty about as someone who merely responded to their actions?
Hua Chengzan strolled over in thought and arrived beside Li Qingshan. “You know my younger sister and Yu Zijian, right?”
Li Qingshan said, “Of course.”
“What do you think of them?”
“They’re both good girls. What, you want to propose an engagement in my place and marry your sister off to me?”Li Qingshan smiled.
Hua Chengzan smiled too. “You do have the right. If you can get Qiongzhi and Chenglu to nod, I won’t intervene. Your mission is to protect them secretly.” Because the reason behind the mission had to be kept a secret, it was rather strange. Why would regular Foundation Establishment cultivators be patient enough to protect two Qi Practitioners? Clearly, his good impression of them was extremely important.
“I know exactly what to say. It’s been three years. You’ve become prettier, Chenglu! Jokes aside, where are they going under my protection?”
Wang Pushi said, “Nowhere special. They’re just completing some simple missions.”
Li Qingshan was perplexed. “You want a Foundation Establishment cultivator to protect two Qi Practitioners? The two of you sure are good at coming up with ideas. Since there’s danger, why don’t you just have the two of them stay put? You can send me off to complete the missions instead.”
Hua Chengzan said rather apologetically, “This touches on an extremely important matter, which I can’t explain to you. And, not only do you have to keep this a secret from them, but you can’t let anyone else learn about it either. I know it doesn’t make much sense. I don’t really trust anyone aside from you…”
“You trust me, yet you still won’t come clean? Alright, I’m not going to trouble you any further. Don’t worry. As long as I’m there, no one can even touch a hair on them.”
“No. If there isn’t life-threatening danger, you absolutely cannot intervene. All you have to do is watch over them. You can just treat this as training for them!”
“Now that’s interesting. You’ve really made me curious!”
Leaving the Hawkwolf Guard, Li Qingshan turned towards the Cloudwisp association. He did not use any techniques, walking on foot instead and blending into the crowd.
It was the end of the year right now, so Clear River city was exceptionally busy, bustling with prosperity as if it had never been influenced by the war.
However, reality was the exact opposite. Because of the war, the prefectural city had become the only place of safety. Countless people had uprooted their entire families to move here, which led to the exceptional prosperity.
Most cultivators did not share the concept of celebrating the end of a year, but this sight made Li Qingshan recall the past. Before long, he arrived before the Cloudwisp association.
The fiery-red archway was labelled with two large words, “Cloudwisp Association”. Lanterns had been hung up everywhere, radiating with jubiliance. A performance was being held inside.
It included everything, from opera to storytelling to singing, yet the price was extremely cheap. Just a few copper coins were enough to spend an entire winter afternoon there, seated comfortably in the theatre, drinking hot tea and eating snacks, forgetting about what troubled them by becoming immersed in the stories. It had already become a prevailing custom in Clear River city.
Li Qingshan made his way through the archway and tossed out a few silver taels, entering the newly-constructed theatre. He was met with a wave of heat. All the seats were filled, amounting to around a thousand people. An old man currently stood on the stage, telling a story loudly. The story he told happened to be about the Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre. The inscriptions on the ground amplified his voice such that it reached all corners clearly.
In a private box at the back, Sun Fubai and Liu Chuanfeng sat before one another.
Sun Fubai grumbled, “Junior brother, since you saw Qingshan, why didn’t you discuss the upcoming plans with him?”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “How am I supposed to discuss it with him? It’s so chaotic out there. We can’t go forward with any of our plans. It’s just within the Clear River prefecture. We can simply go without it. If we mention these difficulties, we’re going to be lectured again.”
“Who’s being lectured? Fubai, long time no see. Your cultivation has advanced yet again.” He saw Sun Fubai seated in a round-backed armchair. He was dressed in a set of thin, grey robes, and his hair was all white, but he seemed even more energetic than before. True qi surged through his body, filling all his meridians. He was approaching the peak of the tenth layer.
Sun Fubai suddenly stood up and beamed. “Qingshan, you’re finally here!” He studied him up and down and was filled with delight. “I heard you established a foundation. Just as expected, just as expected! It’s fantastic, fantastic I say!”
Li Qingshan sat down and learned the situation that the Cloudwisp association faced with development from Sun Fubai. Sure enough, just as Liu Chuanfeng had said, they had made very good progress within the prefectural city, but the situation elsewhere was horrendous. Bandits rose up in swarms as daemons ran amok. Everyone’s lives were under constant threat, so who would still be in the mood to listen to their stories?
Liu Chuanfeng said, “Especially now, some moon demon or whatever has emerged and made the Daemon Suppression alliance pull out all together like cowards. Perhaps the Clear River prefecture will become a world of daemons before long.”
Sun Fubai frowned. “Junior brother, how can you say something so pessimistic?”
“The situation will get better. War won’t continue forever. We need to make preparations right now and win over everyone. I paid a visit to the school of Painting a while back…” Li Qingshan told them what Chu Shidao had proposed.
Sun Fubai’s eyes lit up. “That’s a good idea. Qingshan, if you’re too busy, then you can go to the school of Painting and take a look instead, junior brother.”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s best if you don’t go and find him right now. Master Chu… isn’t too well.”
Sun Fubai nodded, expressing that he understood. He smiled. “Qingshan, the moment you return, it’s like our school of Novels has grown a backbone. The various schools are all undergoing a transition from the old to the new, so you can step down, junior brother.”
Liu Chuanfeng grew nervous. He was afraid of seeing Li Qingshan exactly because he was afraid this would be mentioned. Just when he began having some fun as the school leader, having gained a few disciples now too, he was supposed to step down. He found this very difficult to accept. Fortunately, Li Qingshan declined the offer, which made Liu Chuanfeng ease up. He poured him a cup of tea in a hurry.
Sun Fubai suddenly asked, “Qingshan, you practise the Arts of the Boundless Ocean, right?”
“I do!” Li Qingshan thought of something. This was not exactly a secret in the academy, so there was nothing strange with Sun Fubai knowing about it.
Sun Fubai began to recall the past. “I had this cultivation method back then in my bookstore, but it was only the first half. I ended up giving it away to a strangely-large, dark-skinned fellow.”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “It’s still a cultivation method. How can you just give it to him?”
Sun Fubai said in exasperation, “It’s all because your book embarrassed me. The large fellow was quite a straightforward person. He even said he would show me the cultivation method if he somehow managed to assemble it. I never thought you’d be practising the cultivation method now.”
“What a coincidence. Who knows where this large fellow is now. We don’t even know if he’s still alive. Why don’t I show the cultivation method to you instead? You can count that as a wish fulfilled.” Li Qingshan smiled and took out the jade slip, passing it to Sun Fubai. He had actually completed a promise of the past like this. Life sure was unpredictable.