Chapter 708 – At Different Ends of the World
The carrot and the stick had always been the one and only way to control someone. Fear and oppression alone normally made it very easy for revolts to happen. During the upcoming journey, he still needed this “one ear” in many different areas. This kindness was only to maintain his enthusiasm.
After undergoing nirvāṇa rebirth, Li Qingshan’s comprehension of the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa had further deepened. Healing Goldie A’bao’s wounds did not take him much effort at all. He only unleashed the potential of life in his own body ingeniously to increase the rate at which his wounds healed.
However, he could not go overboard either, or he would overdraw on his own life, leading to extremely great side-effects. Even losing a few years of life would be nothing surprising.
“We’ll set off once you’re clean!”
Li Qingshan glanced backwards. Within the dark jungle, an obscured, small path extended into the depths of the sea of trees. He had a vague feeling that this was still not over yet!
Goldie A’bao originally wanted to convince him otherwise. Travelling through the jungle at night was not a clever decision. Not only were there venomous insects and vicious beasts active at night, but the path would become especially difficult to travel as well.
However, when he followed Li Qingshan’s gaze and looked over, all he saw was a patch of deep darkness. His heart shivered for some reason. The Bone Eating tribe did not only consist of a measly dozen or so people, and they were renowned for their vengefulness.
For anyone who dared to kill one of them, it would not just be the person alone; even their entire family and clan would face destruction. Now that they had lost so many people all of a sudden, all of them would probably rally for large-scale revenge. A single shaman was already so terrifying. If there were over a hundred of them, probably even this “strange baby” could not stop them.
By the time his words reached his mouth, they became, “Yes, sir!” He picked up the basket and rushed off in the direction of the Fragrant Flower market. As long as he reached there, he would be under the protection of the Fragrant Flower clan. Even the Bone Eating tribe would not be bold enough to make trouble.
A gust of wind blew through the sea of trees, leading to a rustle. Like waves, thousands of branches danced around. The trees were like monsters that wanted to swallow people whole.
Goldie A’bao widened his eyes, but he could barely make out the landscape within a few steps away. The ground was twisted with roots, which could turn into stumbling traps with the slightest carelessness. He used his inner force and lightened his steps as much as possible, just in case he alarmed the sensitive pairs of ears in the forest.
Fortunately, he had already travelled this path for several decades. Even with his eyes shut, he could trace out every rise and fall in his heart. However, this path had been paved at the cost of countless lives. There were far fewer venomous insects, but he still had to be careful about stepping on a scorpion or a life-threatening snake dangling from the branches.
Unlike the tense Goldie A’bao, Li Qingshan rested on his arms and laid back leisurely in the bamboo basket. He sucked in the humid yet extremely refreshing air as he listened to the wind sweep up waves through the sea of trees.
He even heard more than that. He heard leaves rustle against the branches and fall to the ground, the broken footsteps of insects, the buzzing of flying bugs, and even the sound of the trees growing. It was not just the trees. Every single vegetation reached towards a greater height in the sky.
He was no different. His thumping heart delivered blood to every part of his body. With his body relaxed, the power that had always belonged to him gradually returned to his body.
He did not have to do anything troublesome like engage in arduous cultivation and travel the same path he had travelled in the past again. All he had to do was patiently wait for himself to grow to adulthood and balance out the many powers in his body during the process.
He smiled. He would simply treat this as a holiday, except who knew when he would be able to return to the Green province. Northmoon’s death had probably caused a very great uproar!
But to the majority of people, this would only be a casual conversation over a meal. Beyond the Asura Field, there were only so many people who cared about Northmoon. Hua Chengzan would probably feel sad for a while, just basically living up to his role as a friend. Li Qingshan did not ask for anything more than that from him either.
Would Ru Xin feel sad for him? That woman’s mouth was unforgiving, but he was confident that not only would she feel sad, but she would even shed tears. It was said that the tears of merfolk would turn into pearls. Heh, he had to ask her for some once he got back.
Qiu Haitang would definitely be sad, but she was probably in secluded cultivation right now. Perhaps she still had no idea about it even right now. In comparison, Han Qiongzhi was instead a little more fortunate. She probably thought he was in secluded cultivation in the Chain mountains. To cultivators, remaining in seclusion for a year or two was nothing!
But that was hard to be certain about too. Perhaps he might give himself away, which was what he worried about the most right now. However, since it was useless no matter how he thought about it, he was better off setting it aside and opening his mind, keeping his eyes fixed on what was right in front of him and properly enjoying the scenery of the Mist province!
However, there was still something he thought about.
Xiao An, are you well?
Xiao An cried out in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga and gazed in the south-west direction. She experienced uneasiness and fear she had never felt before. She bit her lip and composed herself, taking out the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase and divining with the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots.
She divined with all seven lots right from the beginning. The light from the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase turned into a bamboo cup, flashing with various colours. She extended her hand and paused for a moment before grabbing the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase. Her face changed drastically.
It was already dusk, and the evening bell rang out. The lengthy sound of the bell echoed through each hall. The lamps were dim, curling with smoke. The buddha statue stared down at the petite figure below with an unchanging face of compassion.
Xiao An gripped the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase firmly as her body trembled gently. All blood had already drained from her lips. She murmured, “Qingshan… Qingshan…” Two specks of white flames suddenly lit up in the depths of her eyes that were as dark and deep as a pool of water. She made her way out of the hall.
“One Will, where are you going?”
The Dauntless monk’s huge figure appeared outside the hall. His gaze brushed past Xiao An’s shoulder and landed on the broken wooden fish, making him frown slightly before his gaze returned to her face.
“Abbot, my cultivation hasn’t been progressing smoothly. I want to go out for a stroll.”
The flames in the depths of Xiao An’s eyes had subsided, and she pulled the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase into her sleeve. Her expression had become calm and emotionless. She brought her palms together and bowed, neither with any respect nor with any arrogance, just like the past.
However, the Dauntless monk could sense something astir beneath her calm appearance. Something like this was truly rare to see. It was impossible to apply conventional logic to her. Ever since she entered the monastery, she had not been in a hurry to cultivate. Instead, she focused on the studies of buddhism, and her rate of progression astonished everyone. No one doubted that the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga would produce another Monk King.
“As I’ve said, before you undergo the second heavenly tribulation and practise the Chant of Deva-Nāga, you cannot set foot out of the monastery!”
“What if I insist?”
Xiao An raised her head and met the Dauntless monk’s gaze emotionlessly. No one knew that something was not just astir in her heart. It was basically howling furiously. She was tempted to incinerate and destroy everything that blocked her path.
“Then you better get through me first!”
The Dauntless monk was not furious over Xiao An’s rudeness. However, it made him even more certain that the more talented a genius was, the more management they required, just in case they ended up on the wrong path.
Before a single door sill, two people faced one another.
Xiao An’s chest heaved, biting her lip subconsciously. Her rationality was gradually twisting and collapsing. If he were no longer around anymore, then what was the point of sitting here, cultivating and remaining in this world? Just what path could she search for? Just what path was there for her to take? Even if she stepped through the gates of the monastery, she had nowhere to go!
Determination filled her eyes, which surprised the Dauntless monk, but suddenly, her eyes recovered the same calmness and indifference as before. She bowed again. “Yes, abbot.” She turned around and returned to the buddha statue, sitting down on the cushion and taking out another wooden fish, beating away.
The Dauntless monk sank into his thoughts. He gave her a word of advice. “Gathering your mind results in moral virtue. From moral virtue arises mental training and stability, and from mental training and stability arises wisdom and insight. Your dharma name might be One Will, but that doesn’t mean you can stubbornly insist on going your own way with one will. You better just focus on cultivating!”
Xiao An raised her face, which had a lost expression. She had clearly divined certain death, but in that moment earlier, she sensed that he was still alive. It was just as groundless as the uneasiness earlier, like some sort of signal from the unseen fate. It immediately allowed her to settle down.
Her gaze became determined. As long as there was still a sliver of hope, she would do everything she could. Perhaps he might be in need of her help right now. She definitely could not do something pointless.
Several days later, she finally received some news.
“After killing a group of Daemon Commanders, Northmoon fought against Mo Yu above Calm Wave lake and killed him too. Afterwards, the Dragon King of Ink Sea pursued him for thousands of kilometers and killed Northmoon in the wilderness of the Mist province!”
“Northmoon, Mist province, the Dragon King of Ink Sea,” she muttered those three phrases to herself. She waited for another half a month before entering secluded cultivation for good, refusing to emerge until she underwent the second heavenly tribulation!
Goldie A’bao gasped for air as he poured with sweat. He had run through most of the night without stopping, and his inner force was close to running out. His footsteps gradually slowed down. He planned to seek permission to rest. An order rang out from the basket on his back, “Stop! There are people up ahead!”
“Are they Bone Eating shamans?”
“Bone Eating shamans? You mean the strange people from earlier? No, they’re just some mortals!” Li Qingshan said. There was a bonfire a hundred paces away, as well as the presence of several humans.
“That’s fantastic!” Goldie A’bao beamed with joy. He happened to be worrying about the issue of food and drink!
Li Qingshan said, “Aren’t you afraid they’re enemies?”
Goldie A’bao said proudly, “I’ve been a merchant for many years. You can say that I have quite the reputation in this part of the world. I have friends in various caves and villages. It’s perfect for me to ask for some supplies, and if we’re lucky, we might even be able to borrow a mount and travel quickly. Moreover, with you around, sir, are we supposed to be afraid of a few mere mortals?”
His words at the end were already an attempt at probing. Having travelled for most of the night, he slowly calmed down and recovered his usual sharpness. He realised that it was very possible for the strange infant to not be as powerful as he imagined him to be. Otherwise, why would he have spared the shaman? Moreover, he even had the patience to sit in the basket!
Li Qingshan said flatly, “Are you doubting me?”
“How could I dare to?” Goldie A’bao heart leapt up. He continued to speak with great respect, but he began having second thoughts inside.
Li Qingshan could not be bothered with explaining anything. By the time his suspicions had turned into actions, his strength would have recovered to the point where he could kill him.
It was normal to be suspicious, but the actions that came out of suspicion would directly determine his fate. If he obliged obediently and helped him retrieve the Asura Field, Li Qingshan would not mind giving him some benefits. If he wanted to use this opportunity to do something, then he could just kill him.
“Your own path is for you to choose. It’s all up to you!”