Chapter 678 – Coming to a Stop, Having a Think
“Chu Tian is already dead. From today onwards, I’m called Lin Xuan. Please don’t call me by the wrong name when you see me again in the future.”
Under the resplendent sunlight, Li Qingshan’s mind drifted off for a moment. He recalled the final words the man called Chu Tian said in the underground room.
Was Lin Xuan a name he came up with? Or was it his original name? He did not know. All he knew was this time, Qian Rongzhi would be in trouble. This would be an enemy even more terrifying than the likes of Si Qing and Jia Zhen.
All the school leaders gathered in one room, gazing at a rippling surface of water. Because that wretched daemon Northmoon had taken away the Watermirror disc that they originally used, the water mirror they used to observe the new disciples was obviously something the one most skilled with water element techniques among them created, Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan leaned on the window sill and gazed at the rippling Lake of Dragons and Snakes lazily. It had truly been quite some time since he last enjoyed some peace like this. He felt like every single bone in his body had been separated, allowing him to relax.
Actually, he did not spend this time idling around. He paid a visit to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga and reported to the Unraging monk his current cultivation. Even the Unraging monk was amazed by his terrifying cultivation speed, but the only pity he found was he had condensed an Ocean pearl and not a buddhist śarīra.
Afterwards, the Unraging monk gave him permission to enter the seventh floor of the Demon Suppression hall. He advanced steadily, and after a bitter battle, he finally made it to the seventh Demon Suppression statue and comprehended the seventh part of the Demon Suppression Statuary. He had only achieved this because he could freely demonify now, disguising himself as a demon so the other demonfolk would not attack him together.
As a result, he took a step further with his cultivation, and his demon heart became more and more resplendent. After demonifying, he could take on mid or even late Golden Core cultivators. However, he did not manage to see the person he wanted to see the most, Xiao An. He only heard that she was cultivating arduously in the Bodhi courtyard, refusing to speak with anyone. People said she was practising meditative silence, but the Unraging monk said she simply did not want to talk to anyone.
With quite a lot of reluctance, Li Qingshan left the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Before he left, the Unraging monk warned him. “You’re both going too fast. It’s about time for you to come to a stop and have a think.”
After thinking about it, he agreed with the Unraging monk sincerely. It had only taken him around a decade to go from a youth who knew absolutely nothing and practised both daemon and human cultivation methods to his current level, while Xiao An was basically no different, having gone from a little ghost afraid of wind and light to now, where she could butcher Corpse Commanders like butchering pigs.
No matter how outstandingly talented they were, they required a certain amount of time for accumulation and consolidation. Powerful cultivators were not created overnight. This was why brother ox had given him ten thousand years.
It might have been possible to merge the powers of the phoenix and spirit turtle, but he spent far too little energy and effort into it. He constantly thought he could deal with this one day and his cultivation would advance abruptly, but as it seemed now, it was not that simple. Since there were no shortcuts up the mountain, he would just climb up slowly!
Right now, he sat lazily in the room while his mirror clone was deep underground, bathing in the magma and enduring the pain of being incinerated with fire. He was on the verge of collapsing at all times, so he had to constantly send daemon qi over to repair his clone. Only then could he sustain the clone.
After undergoing the second heavenly tribulation, his comprehension of the principles of the world and the mysteries of nature grew deeper. He gradually found certain ways he could merge fire and water together, no longer clueless and at a loss as for what to do like in the past.
“Qingshan, once this ends, let’s go for a few drinks in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain,” Wei Yangsheng said suddenly. Although he was not exactly trying to curry favour and fawn over Li Qingshan just yet, he did show deep reverence.
Actually, while Li Qingshan had been unconcerned, he had always been a point of focus to everyone. Even Han Tieyi who was as cold and staunch as metal viewed him in a completely different light after the hints from Han Anjun. The only person who did not treat him seriously was the leader of the school of Medicine, Ru Xin, or at least that was how it seemed.
“Sure. The Sect of Clouds and Rain still hasn’t been shut down?” Li Qingshan agreed happily. He was not some ascetic. If there was an opportunity to drink fine alcohol liberally, why would he turn it down?
“Even upon death, a centipede does not keel over, let alone something as large as a sect. Though, they do seem to be facing quite a few issues lately. They’ve lost their backbone after all. Qingshan, why don’t you just take over?” Liu Zhangqing continued the conversation with a smile and suggested to Li Qingshan.
After granny You’s death and Qiu Haitang’s disappearance, the Sect of Clouds and Rain became leaderless. Not only were they fragmenting from the inside, but they faced numerous dangers from the outside too, becoming the target of many organisations.
Liu Zhangqing originally wanted to use this opportunity to swallow it up, but upon further consideration, he gave up on that idea. Li Qingshan had taken on great risks to help Qiu Haitang escape, yet the benefits all fell to him in the end. If it led to any misgivings between them, then it would not be worth it at all. Through his identity as the prefect, he maintained the current situation of the Parlour of Clouds and Rain, preventing it from dispersing while preventing anyone from claiming it.
“Me? Let me consider it!” Li Qingshan originally wanted to say, Why would I want that? However, he soon remembered that this did belong to Qiu Haitang’s sect after all. If he had the opportunity in the future, returning it to Qiu Haitang was a good idea.
The various tests were carried out in an orderly manner. In the end, the handsome young man known as Lin Xuan passed through the tests with ease and joined the school of Daoism, becoming a daoist priest, which brought great pity to the leader of the school of Confucianism, Wei Yangsheng, as well as much confusion to many people. Ever since Juechengzi died, the school of Daoism never had a proper leader. It completely relied on their primary disciple and a few professors to maintain the situation and pass on their daoist techniques. No one could make the decision to give him any additional benefits, while Wei Yangsheng had put forward rather impressive conditions.
However, Li Qingshan understood that he had probably chosen the school of Daoism to avoid any special attention from a particular person. He would probably become the leader of the school of Daoism soon. Not only did he have a powerful cultivation method and cultivation experience, but Ru Xin had even agreed to provide him with sufficient resources for cultivation in exchange for detailed guidance over the Daoist Arts of Cloud Furnace and the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace.
Li Qingshan could already see the rise of a new star.
Liu Chuanfeng sighed. “If only this child joined my school of Novels.”
“You better stop dreaming, junior brother. The school of Novels might be much stronger compared to the past, but true geniuses still won’t take this path.” For this entrance examination, Sun Fubai had specially hurried back, accepting over a dozen disciples for the school of Novels.
Li Qingshan said, “If that bastard Zhou Tong hadn’t gone so far, I would have never ended up in the school of Novels either.”
Sun Fubai smiled. “This was fate as well as great luck for us. I’ll definitely do everything I can to not leave you disappointed, Qingshan. I’ll tell you in detail when we get back, but the school of Novels also has brilliant prospects!”
Returning to Cloudwisp island with the new disciples, the three of them said some words of encouragement, explained a few rules of the school of Novels, and allowed them to stroll around before they returned to the bamboo loft to discuss official business.
Out of the dozen or so new disciples, the oldest was already twenty, while the youngest was only nine. After the three of them left, everyone let out a sigh of relief. The pressure from Foundation Establishment cultivators was far too great. Even just the aura they gave off unintentionally was enough for them to hold their breaths.
The young man who was the oldest said excitedly, “It really is him!”
The youngest, the nine year old child, tilted his head in confusion. “Who?”
“The one who spoke at the end. The one with the largest stature. That’s senior uncle Li Qingshan! Haven’t you heard of him?” The young man stifled his voice, basically amazed by how he had not heard of Li Qingshan before.
“Of course I’ve heard of him! He’s the Scarlet Hawk commander of the Clear River prefecture. Originally, he was a cowherd, but after around a decade of cultivation, he defeated a whole group of Foundation Establishment cultivators from the school of Novels during the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures! He’s already close to breaking through to Golden Core, and he’s not even thirty yet! He’s the most outstanding genius of our Clear River prefecture- no, the entire Ruyi commandery!” a young girl said immediately.
The young girl was so proud that it seemed like she was describing these feats as her own. Her eyes were filled with admiration.
The young man sighed. “Sigh, I don’t want anything else. I’d be happy if I can establish a foundation before the age of thirty.” The others all showed admiration and anticipation too, becoming filled with confidence over their future lives in the school of Novels. The power of role models was endless.
Although Li Qingshan was still a fair bit off from his goal of shaking up the world with his name, shaking up the Ruyi commandery with his name was no longer an issue. Before he knew it, he was already becoming something like a legend.
In the bamboo loft, the three of them sat together. Li Qingshan picked up a tea cup and said to Sun Fubai, “Fubai, it’s been tough on you. Please accept my toast of tea instead of alcohol!”
Liu Chuanfeng picked up his cup too, thanking Sun Fubai. If he had not rushed about outside, the Cloudwisp association would have never achieved its current accomplishments.
Sun Fubai replied with a smile, “My junior brother and I should be the ones to thank you. Qingshan, do you happen to have any money on you?”
“Money? You mean spiritual stones?”
Sun Fubai shook his head with a bitter smile. “No, just money. Gold and silver.”
Originally, golden and silver were basically no different from scrap metal to cultivators at their level. However, when he tried to expand the Cloudwisp association and carry out Li Qingshan’s plan to organise private institutions throughout the Ruyi commandery and teach the children of poor families how to read so that he could pave the foundation of the school of Novels, he discovered that they were truly short on money.
Across the expansive territory of the Ruyi commandery, just building these private institutions would probably take hundreds of million taels of gold and silver. Coupled with recruitment and the fees to maintain the operations, it was an astronomical sum, and he would earn no money from these operations either.
Sun Fubai had plenty of ways to gather money. He already had many salterns and gold mines under his control, which all poured with profits. However, if he insisted on carrying out a grand plan like this, there was still quite a large gap he had to make up for.
After hearing Sun Fubai’s explanation, Liu Chuanfeng said, “Since we don’t have money, then we can just develop slowly. Why do we have to be in such a rush?”
Sun Fubai shook his head. “But that’s far too wasteful. It’s just like if we have an empty plot of land. The more seeds we plant now, the more we can harvest in the future. Each year we miss is a year of harvest lost, so the more we invest right now, the better it will be.”
Li Qingshan rummaged through his hundred treasures pouch and found a lot of silver notes and gold sycees. They were worth tens of thousand taels of silver.
“Then I’m not going to hold back. If only we had more.”
Li Qingshan contemplated and said, “Regular sects won’t save up too much gold and silver, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. The Parlours of Clouds and Rain accept customers from far and wide, and most of them are just regular people who use gold and silver. The Sect of Clouds and Rain should be quite wealthy!”
Li Qingshan told them about Liu Zhangqing’s suggestion, and Sun Fubai said immediately, “That’s a good idea. A single Parlour of Clouds and Rain is worth even more than ten money houses!”
“Alright then. I’ll go put in a word with prefect Liu,” Li Qingshan said. It had been quite some time since he last saw Qiu Haitang. He wondered how she was doing right now.