Chapter 676 – A Rumor? A Lie? The Flower of Water and Fire That Does Not Exist
“Are you schizophrenic?” The corner of Li Qingshan’s mouth twitched as he let go. Her touched expression only seemed to serve as a set-up for the foul words she spouted so that she could achieve enough of an impact.
“What’s schizophrenia?” As if something dirty had touched her, Ru Xin patted her shoulder a few times.
Li Qingshan gave a rough explanation and Ru Xin was taken aback. She said, “So I’m sick in the head too!”
“And quite sick too!”
“Oh right, there’s something good I have to tell you.”
All Li Qingshan could do was follow along with how she changed the topic. After all, everyone had their secrets, which had nothing to do with the depth of their relationship. It was like how he would never tell anyone he was a transmigrator. If he insisted on finding out, it would instead be rude.
“The imperial court has dismissed Si Qing as the Marquis of Ruyi. He’s even gone to the provincial lord’s estate in South Hub city to apologise. He didn’t even hold the position for a month. He’s probably the marquis with the shortest reign in history.”
“He asked for it. During that month, it was like he had waged a war against the daemons. The strength of the entire cultivation community of the Ruyi commandery plummeted. Even if the imperial court can keep him around, the provincial lord won’t. Then who’s taking over the position of Marquis of Ruyi?”
Although Li Qingshan had guessed this possibility, he could not help but rile up with vigour when he heard it. Si Qing and Jia Zhen would probably hatch schemes to make trouble for him with each passing day they spent in the Ruyi commandery. But speaking of which, who was the one devouring his territory? Surely it was not the new Marquis of Ruyi, and surely he was not some other prince!
“They returned it to the Jiang family. A son of Jiang Fu is holding the position, but he’s only a Foundation Establishment cultivator. Commander Gu and great general Han are assisting him.”
“Great general Han!”
“Yeah, your old father-in-law came back. He has undergone the second heavenly tribulation too and taken on the position of great general.”
Li Qingshan let out a sigh of relief. If that were the case, the Han family had basically reconsolidated their position in the Ruyi commandery. Coupled with Gu Yanying, the two most authoritative people in the Ruyi commandery were on good terms with him. No one could make trouble for him anymore.
As a result, he could temporarily settle down and cultivate. He could live together with Han Qiongzhi, he could enter the Asura Field and engage in some procreation with Ye Liubo, or he could go underground and harass the Spider Queen. Once the Painting Tomb opened, he could go exploring. Life had never been so comfortable.
Although he was battle-hungry in nature, an opponent he could not kill was far too annoying. As his cultivation increased, Si Qing’s threat to him would become smaller and smaller. With his identity as a prince, even if the Dragon King of Ink Sea wanted to kill him, he would have to reconsider, but Li Qingshan firmly believed that it was not that he would be sparing him, but rather the time was still not right.
Li Qingshan talked a little longer with Ru Xin and suddenly remembered something. He asked, “Oh right, have you heard about the Flower of Water and Fire?”
“The Flower of Water and Fire?” Ru Xin’s expression immediately became rather strange.
“Legend has it that in the depths of the South sea, when volcanoes erupt, water and fire merge…”
“You don’t have to say anymore. I know about it.”
Before Li Qingshan could even finish, Ru Xin interrupted him. He beamed inside. “So you have heard about it. Do you know where I can find it?”
Ru Xin shook her head. “There’s no need to look for it.”
“There’s no need?”
“Because it’s fake!” Ru Xin said firmly.
Legends were only called legends when they were truly indistinguishable between real and fake, yet she was actually so certain it was fake, which left Li Qingshan very surprised. “The Great Banyan Tree King told me this in person. He’s spent ten thousand years in the Mist province.”
“But that doesn’t mean he knows everything. I’d advise you to save the effort. This legend is a lie!”
Ru Xin’s gaze drifted away as if she was gazing at an extremely distant place. The legendary Flower of Water and Fire did represent the peace between the two races, but there was a following part to this legend. If the Flower of Water and Fire bloomed regularly without withering away, then it would bring an extremely great disaster to the two races.
In the Hawkwolf Guard of the prefectural city of Clear River, the bronze hawk spread its wings, overlooking and guarding this city.
However, the entrance seemed rather deserted. This was obviously because of Si Qing’s sins. If it were not for the fact that a part of the Hawkwolf guards were not disciples of the academy, or they were away carrying out missions and had not taken part in the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures, then the office probably could not even function properly anymore.
In a room on the top floor, Hua Chenglu was currently buried under official business. In the past, she lacked the ability to deal with these matters, but after undergoing Wisdom Imbuement, she became extremely proficient.
Suddenly, she heard a few thumps outside the window and turned around in surprise, only to see a familiar figure standing outside the window with a resplendent smile across his face.
“Big brother Li, you’ve emerged from seclusion!”
Hua Chenglu was overjoyed, hurrying over to open the window and let Li Qingshan in.
All Li Qingshan saw was Hua Chenglu dressed in the uniform of a Scarlet Wolf commander, which made her seem valiant and much more mature. “Congratulations, you’ve been promoted!”
“Subordinate Hua Chenglu greets the commander!”
Hua Chenglu clasped her hands with a smile. Being able to work alongside him brought her joy, but the only issue was this big brother commander rarely spent any time in the office.
Li Qingshan said seriously, “Just like what they say, work is not tiring when there are both sexes. I should have switched you in for my assistant a long time ago, and maybe I would have paid a few more visits here.”
“Then if you don’t come in the future, I’ll never accept it!”
Hua Chenglu pouted slightly. No matter how mature she became, she could not help but behave like a girl in front of this man who had occupied her thoughts day and night for the past few months. The moment she spoke, she also realised she was behaving a little too familiar with him, and she blushed slightly, which made her seem extremely charming.
She made Li Qingshan’s heart skip a beat. Li Qingshan grinned. “I’ll do what I can. Where’s your brother?”
“My brother broke through to mid Foundation Establishment and was promoted to White Wolf guard. He’s gone to the Ruyi commandery.”
As soon as Hua Chengzan was mentioned, Hua Chenglu recovered some calmness. She could not help but remember what Hua Chengzan had said to her that time after they had returned to the Ruyi commandery. He was vague, but it was very clear what he was trying to say. He wanted her to maintain her distance from Li Qingshan. He was not a man that she could rein in.
Li Qingshan sighed with a smile. “He’s finally gotten what he wants!” The hopeless romantic Hua Chengzan had finally gotten a little closer to his dream lover.
With this brought up, Hua Chenglu’s expression became rather mixed. “My brother… Oh right, commander Gu said to contact her immediately if you emerged.”
“Yeah. That’s what I was planning on doing too.”
After leaving the Chain mountains, Li Qingshan’s first stop was here so that he could contact Gu Yanying. Her identity and status was high enough to know a lot of secrets. He wanted to ask her who was stealing his water territory.
Hua Chenglu watched as Li Qingshan stepped into the room for contacting the Ruyi commandery Hawkwolf Guard, and she sank into her thoughts. She felt like Li Qingshan’s aura had changed slightly once again with his appearance this time, but she was unable to put these differences into words.
Suddenly, a thought sprang up in her head, Don’t tell me big brother Li has broken through to Golden Core? She soon shook her head, feeling that it was impossible. Golden Core was not that easy to break through to. Although he had bragged he could reach Golden Core before the age of thirty, a few years still existed before he reached thirty! Only by thinking like that would she find the distance between them not too far apart.
Li Qingshan had erased his aura, which was not something she could see through. A while later, Li Qingshan walked out of the room with a thoughtful expression.
He received a piece of good news from Gu Yanying. The imperial clan had paid off Si Qing’s debt in whole, which was in a sumeru ring with Gu Yanying. She could pass it onto him at any time.
This was obviously fantastic news, but Gu Yanying also warned him that it would be for the best if he did not expose his cultivation right now.
This matter had already caused some discontent among those higher up, but they would not go as far as to lower themselves to deal with a mere Foundation Establishment cultivator. However, if he exposed his current cultivation, he would definitely shock the world and become the centre of attention.
Gu Yanying’s original message was, “If you don’t want to be transferred to the Mist province as a White Hawk commander, then you better maintain the current situation obediently!”
This was what Li Qingshan wanted as well. He wanted a period of peace. The title of “genius” never held any significance to him anyway. However, Gu Yanying’s next words left him surprised. Those that were claiming his water territory were not human, but daemon. They wanted to use this method to force out Northmoon and then pass the Dragon King of Ink Sea’s order to him so that he would have to go to the Ink sea and present himself before the dragon king.
Once he received the order properly, then he would immediately lose his place with the Dragon King of Ink Sea and the Daemon race of the Green province if he dared to brush it aside or turn it down. There was no reason needed. To rulers, disobedient subordinates deserved death.
Li Qingshan originally thought he could find an opportunity and use his clone to kill them if they were not some powerful figure. Fortunately, he had not done that. He was still reluctant to directly face the Dragon King of Ink Sea. That was much more troublesome than the Beast King. He could just make the existence known as Northmoon disappear for a period of time!
Hua Chenglu asked in concern, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing. I’ll return to the academy first. Oh right, I’ll visit you regularly in the future.” Li Qingshan flew off.
Hua Chenglu grumbled, “What visit me regularly? This isn’t the Parlour of Clouds and Rain!”
In the room beneath Benevolence island, Chu Tian laid on a cold, jade bed quietly. The jade bed gave off white mist, which obscured his naked figure. Originally, his appearance was nothing special at all, but he was much more slender now, seeming slightly thin, but it matched his elegant bearing perfectly. The only pity was probably his overly-common facial appearance.
By the side of the jade bed was a crane-shaped censer, which spat out a wisp of smoke. It curled around Chu Tian’s surroundings like it was alive, giving off a heavy fragrance, allowing his body to relax. His skeletal frame seemed to loosen up joint by joint, lying on the bed limply. Even his mind drifted away.
A white figure walked over to the jade bed and extended her hands. She took out a sharp knife only a few inches long and said, “Are you ready? I’m going to begin.”
The indiscernible voice seemed to come from a faraway place. Through the cold mist and smoke, Chu Tian saw Ru Xin’s face and used his last bit of strength to nod slowly before his mind rapidly sank away.
Li Qingshan walked in through the passageway, standing with Hua Ci. He had left the Chain mountains with Ru Xin and knew she was giving Chu Tian a face-lift, so he obviously had to come take a look. All he saw was Ru Xin concentrating her attention as she slid the blade in her hand across Chu Tian’s face easily, carrying out the surgery in an orderly manner.
Hua Ci suddenly shot a glance at Li Qingshan and made his way out of the room. Li Qingshan followed along, rather confused.