Chapter 722 – Ru Xin’s Whereabouts
Hua Chenglu looked back, but she saw nothing. A stream of air swirled around her back, which made her shiver inside. They’re so fast. They shouldn’t be weak, but they haven’t attacked me, so it doesn’t seem like they have any ill intentions.
As a result, she just stood still and silently used her soul sense. She asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m an old friend of your brother!” Li Qingshan used the Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell to block Hua Chenglu’s soul sense.
“I know all of my brother’s friends!” Hua Chenglu suddenly turned around, and the stream of air arrived behind her again. “But he doesn’t have any sneaky friends like you!”
“Looks like there are also ones you don’t know. Men have a lot of little secrets. Anyways, I want to see him. There’s something I want to ask him about!”
“My brother is cultivating in peace on Soaring Afterglow mountain.”
Hua Chenglu considered it, but she ended up deciding on telling the truth. No matter what his intentions were, Soaring Afterglow mountain was enveloped in formations. Even Golden Core cultivators could forget about breaching the place. It was better to leave him to Hua Chengzan than face him right now when she was in a disadvantageous situation.
“Soaring Afterglow mountain? Alright, thanks for that! And, please keep this a secret. I’m sure that’s what your brother would want too!”
Li Qingshan had once been in possession of a mental map of the Green province. Afterwards, he had gradually refined all the bodies of water in the Ruyi commandery, so he understood the landscape like the back of his hand. He immediately recalled where Soaring Afterglow mountain was.
The Soaring Afterglow sect was originally located there. Their sect master seemingly died in the commandery city of Ruyi, and they had suffered heavy losses with their disciples. As it seemed, the Hua family had taken advantage of the situation to annex them. After all, a sect without strength had no right to occupy such a great place for cultivation.
“Alright, I’ll keep this secret for you, but you have to tell me who you are.”
“You might find out one day in the future, but not right now!”
“I want to know right now!” Hua Chenglu said
Hua Chenglu did not receive a reply. She looked back, only to see the misty white clouds and the setting sun in the west burning like fire. After a moment of hesitation, she also ventured off in the direction of Soaring Afterglow mountain. Her curiosity was far too strong.
The Soaring Afterglow sect was a sect with over a thousand years of history. Although it was under new management, the structures in the sect had not been destroyed at all. The halls and pavilions remained where they were, built into the mountains, giving off a bearing of grandeur and elegance.
In the main hall on the highest point of Soaring Afterglow mountain, Hua Chengzan paced around in the empty building, gazing into the distance near the railing. The afterglow gradually dimmed. All glory had a time when they came to an end.
At this moment, he thought about Northmoon’s death again. He still found it a little difficult to believe. With his dual identity as a human and a daemon, he used a little over a decade to go on a meteoric rise, yet he had actually died quietly in the jungle of the Mist province like this.
However, if he thought about it with conventional logic, it was definitely impossible for him to survive seeing how one of the Ten Daemon Kings, the Dragon King of Ink Sea, had hunted him down.
What would happen to Qiongzhi? Haitang was probably clueless about it too. He was tight-lipped, but he was frequently plagued with worries, which consolidated his desire to cultivate. The world was already showing signs of chaos. Strength was crucial.
At this moment, he felt the furthest formation being triggered. A voice called out, “Tsk! Open up!”
Hua Chengzan gazed into the distance and saw a child with scarlet hair and eyes smiling at him. He was taken aback. Only then did he find the smile so familiar. He said in disbelief, “Qingshan!”
The formations opened one by one, and Li Qingshan flapped his wings, rushing over and landing gently on the railing. He smiled. “Your cultivation really has advanced at a marvellous rate in the past few years!”
Hua Chengzan’s aura was sedated, and the fragrance of flowers lingered about him without dispersing. He had already consolidated his cultivation at mid Foundation Establishment firmly and was close to breaking through to late Foundation Establishment. Clearly, after breaking free from his entanglements of love, he began to demonstrate extraordinary talent.
“You’re still alive? That’s fantastic, but I heard…”
“Don’t worry. Just that old dragon alone won’t be enough to kill me. There will be a day when I go dragon slaying in the Ink sea!” Li Qingshan pointed toward the distant east. The afterglow faded away, and the stars began to shine.
“Then I don’t have to worry,” said Hua Chengzan.
Li Qingshan asked Hua Chengzan about many people and learnt that they were mostly the same as before. They all cultivated peacefully, entering secluded cultivation for a year or two every once in a while. The humans and daemons of the Ruyi commandery had both suffered heavy losses as their own hands, so the situation instead became as stable as it could get. They also had Gu Yanying, a commander who got along with both sides, mediating everything, so there basically were no large scale battles.
The other commanderies were not so peaceful. Although it was still not a full-blown war, the Daemon Commanders and Daemon Generals already began ignoring the Treaty of Kings, moving about on the surface and frequently rubbing shoulders and getting into battles with humans. The Daemon Suppression alliance the Sword Collection palace arranged had already established a reputation towards the north of the Green province.
Li Qingshan nodded. Suddenly, he realised that although Hua Chengzan even mentioned Liu Chuanfeng and Sun Fubai, going into detail about the Cloudwisp association’s developments, he did not mention Ru Xin. He asked, “Do you know where Ru Xin is?”
Hua Chengzan was surprised. “You didn’t see her?”
“Why would I see her?” Li Qingshan asked.
“She went to the Mist province to find you!”
“Soon after the news of your death had spread, she openly announced she was entering secluded cultivation. I knew it wasn’t as simple as that, so I went to find her. She said…” Hua Chengzan paused. Li Qingshan pressed down on his shoulders and asked, “What did she say?”
“She said while smiling, ‘I don’t believe that bastard will die in such a hilarious way. He’s killed their son, so they chased him down and hacked him to death. Isn’t that just a joke?’”
“That does sound like something she would say! Though, I’ve suffered such a tragic fate, so doesn’t she even know to feel a little sad?” Li Qingshan said in discontent, but his eyes betrayed him with smiles and emotion. She had travelled thousands of kilometers to find him as soon as she learnt about what had happened to him. Then he became rather worried. Where was she right now? He had spent most of his time hidden away, so it was not surprising that she had not found him.
“You should have persuaded her otherwise. If I really were dead, it would be useless even if she went. If I managed to survive, then of course I wouldn’t be found so easily.”
“That’s exactly what I said, but she said that even if you really died, you’ll need someone to burn some joss paper for you! When she said that, her expression was very painful. I’ve never seen her show an expression like that despite knowing her for so long!”
No one suspected that the Dragon King of Ink Sea would fail to hunt down and kill a Daemon Commander. She clearly believed so too with her smarts, but she still went.
“What a troublesome woman. What’s wrong with behaving and just staying at home? I have to search for her now!”
Li Qingshan closed his eyes before opening them again. For a moment, he was tempted to throw the Asura Field aside and track her down immediately.
At this moment, Hua Chengzan’s expression changed, and he gazed down the mountain.
“It’s Chenglu. I’ll make her wait outside for a while!”
“There’s no need. It’s quite late. It’s time for me to go. Oh right, why aren’t you finding a master to study under? Don’t tell me you plan on reestablishing the Soaring Afterglow sect as their sect master after you undergo the second heavenly tribulation?”
“I’m nowhere near as impressive as you. I want to break through to late Foundation Establishment and then visit the Sword Collection palace!”
“You want to join the Sword Collection palace?”
“If I want a master, they’ll obviously have to be a great cultivator of the third heavenly tribulation. Among the three great sects of the Green province, it’s not like I can go become a monk or go to the south and join the Umbral Yin sect!”
Li Qingshan wanted to say, You’re a Hawkwolf guard, so how can you join the Sword Collection palace? They might not necessarily accept you either. Apart from the three great sects of the Green province, the governance system of the Great Xia empire has some great cultivators too. However, he understood what Hua Chengzan was trying to say with some further thought. He did not want to see Gu Yanying again.
“Commander Gu gave me special permission to resign from my post in the Hawkwolf Guard. She even sent a word to me that if I can’t join the Sword Collection palace, then she would recommend me to a great cultivator of the Umbral Yin sect. She told me that I have to wait a few more years, and she’s basically lived up to her duty as a friend. Looks like it wasn’t an accident that I fell in love with her.”
Hua Chengzan smiled bitterly. Something as great as this that regular people could only wish for instead made him feel a mixture of emotions.
“What living up to her duty as a friend? She should know that you absolutely won’t accept it!” Li Qingshan said in objection.
The bird woman was always meticulous when she did things, such that no one could find any fault in it. She was not annoyingly tactful. Instead, she gave off a faint sense of alienation.
“Who knows, she might also know that the Sword Collection palace would never accept me, and she divulged that on purpose. In order to stop me from joining the Umbral Yin sect, perhaps it might even increase my chances of the Sword Collection palace accepting me!”
“You really are beyond help. Take care, I’m going!”
Right when Hua Chenglu almost ran out of patience from the waiting, the formations finally opened. She arrived in front of Hua Chengzan and asked curiously, “Was that really your friend? Who was he exactly?”
Hua Chengzan said, “I’ll introduce him to you in the future!”
Before long, Li Qingshan arrived before the dwelling of the “bird woman”, the Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind.
He knew she was in possession of an Ink Dragon talisman, and she was on good terms with the Dragon King of Ink Sea, but he still came. He clearly knew that their friendship was not particularly deep, but he could still trust her. This could probably be regarded as an ability too!
He took a step and crossed from the chilly autumn night to the early summer beaming with sunlight. The lotus flowers bobbed up and down, stretching as far as the eye could see. The smell of flowers wafted through the air.
He leapt into the sea of flowers and saw the Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind in the distance.
Gu Yanying stood in a set of white clothes that were even whiter than snow. She smiled. “Looks like I was wrong!”
“Completely and utterly wrong!” Li Qingshan landed on the Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind. “How is it? You didn’t think of this, did you?”
“I really didn’t think of it. I never expected you’d be quite interesting after shrinking!”
Gu Yanying smiled. When she saw Li Qingshan, she had indeed been shocked. The Dragon King of Ink Sea did not tell any lies, yet he was well and truly alive. What he achieved was unfathomable.
“Interesting your face. If you had told me that that kid Mo Yu was capable of something like that, I wouldn’t have fallen for his trick!” Li Qingshan said.
“It’s not like you’re my man, hehe, or my son either. I tried to persuade you, but you didn’t listen, so how can you blame me?”
“I haven’t come here to joke around with you. I require some fire element spiritual stones and pills!”
Practising the second layer of the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa was not as easy as the first layer. It required large amounts of resources, but he was currently broke. All of his wealth was in the Asura Field, and even if he were in possession of the Asura Field, he could not purchase so many resources easily. He required her assistance with this.
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll sell you out to the dragon king?”
“Do you have money to pay for it right now?”
“Alright then, but I need some time!”