Chapter 753 – The Divine Wutong, I Also Have a Heart
“We’ve made you wait! Here, the Chant of Deva-Nāga you’ve been asking for!”
Li Qingshan took out a jade slip. Xiao An had already inscribed the Chant of Deva-Nāga from beginning to end there.
The jade slip was tossed into the lake of magma. A vortex appeared, extending downwards as far as the eye could see like it led to another world.
The jade slip fell in there, and the vortex vanished. Quite a while later, the Golden Cicada Spirit King’s voice rang out again.
“Sure enough… sure enough! Thanks!”
The voice was filled with endless emotion, just not joy from obtaining this supreme cultivation method.
“We don’t owe each other anything anymore. If there’s nothing else, I’ll be taking my leave first then.” Li Qingshan waved his hand, about to leave.
The Golden Cicada Spirit King said, “The aura of the phoenix on you is getting heavier and heavier. It’s said that you were slain by the Dragon King of Ink Sea. You must have survived because of the phoenix’s ability of rebirth!”
“That’s right! That battle was quite alarming! Heh, in simpler terms, it was just fleeing for my life. Do you have any other advice to give to me, fellow? Don’t tell me you have other phoenix feathers?”
Li Qingshan realised something. The Golden Cicada Spirit King seemed to be rather familiar with the phoenix. Since he had a phoenix feather, then perhaps he might have even more! If he could obtain another three or five, practising the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa would become extremely easy.
“It’s already been far too long since the phoenix has soared away. I only kept that phoenix feather as a memorial, so how can I have more? Though, there is a divine wutong tree on Fire Melt mountain in the Mist province. That was where the phoenix once roosted! If you can cultivate there, it’ll definitely be a hundred times more effective than cultivating in the magma!”
Li Qingshan said, “Fire Melt mountain! I think I’ve heard about it somewhere before. I’m just about to pay a visit to the south, so I’ll definitely go take a look when the time comes!”
“Once I thoroughly comprehend the Chant of Deva-Nāga, I’ll be able to patch up the final hole in my cultivation, undergo the fourth heavenly tribulation, and leap out of this world. You should come when that happens. I have one final gift for you as an exchange!”
The Golden Cicada Spirit King said as another item flew out of the magma lake, landing in Li Qingshan’s hand. It was a fire-red piece of jade embedded with a sliver of soul sense. It did not have any particularly special functions. It was just something for sending messages and notifying people when it mattered.
Li Qingshan fiddled around with the gemstone and asked curiously. Something that the Golden Cicada Spirit King could treat as a gift so seriously definitely would not be some kind of common good. Perhaps it was even more precious than the phoenix feather! However, since he said it was an exchange, it meant he had to give up something too, and it had to be of equivalent value.
It was very difficult to say who had profited from the exchange of a phoenix feather for the Chant of Deva-Nāga. They had just taken whatever they needed. However, there was one thing Li Qingshan was certain about. They were worth around the same value.
“You’ll obviously find out when the time comes!” The Golden Cicada Spirit King guarded the secret closely.
“Then can you give me the gift in advance like what you did with the phoenix feather? I’m about to face quite a lot of difficulties!” Li Qingshan suggested.
After their first deal, they had built up a basic level of trust between one another. Any additional strength would be nice.
“I can’t do that. I have to give it to you when the time comes. Though, it’s not because I don’t trust you!”
“You’re only making me more curious!”
“I can guarantee you that the item is worth no less than an arcane treasure. If you use it wisely, it might even exceed that!”
“Alright then! Then I hope you undergo the fourth heavenly tribulation sooner and leave this well so that you can take a look at a different world!”
He had settled a tie of karma, only to establish a new one. Li Qingshan and Xiao An returned to the surface.
It happened to be the middle of the night. The sky full of stars twinkled resplendently.
For a moment, Li Qingshan had no idea where to go. Recently, he had been through a lengthy period of cultivation, held a great banquet in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain, and fought a great battle in the Demon Suppression hall.
He was not exactly tired, but he did want to rest a little and spend some time with the family right beside him he had not seen in a very long time. As a result, he smiled. “Time passes so quickly! Before I realised it, you’ve already grown up! Back then, you were only that small!”
“Then stop rubbing my head.” Xiao An grabbed his huge hand and wrapped her hands around it gently.
“You’ve really grown up and developed thoughts of your own, haven’t you? You were such a good girl before, yet now I can’t even rub your head. If I had known this earlier, I would have never taken you to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. You’ve been led astray by those bald asses!” Li Qingshan groaned in great pain.
Xiao An bit her lip and placed his hand back on her head.
“That’s more like it!” Li Qingshan laughed aloud and pulled her into his arms. The faint fragrance of sandalwood filled his embrace, and he found peace. He asked gently, “Where do you want to go? What do you want to do first? I’ll do whatever you want!”
“I want to go home.” Xiao An raised her face.
“Go home? You mean the Qing Xiao dwelling? You’re still not sick of seclusion after spending so much time cultivating?” Li Qingshan shook his head.
“You said you’d do whatever I want,” Xiao An said seriously.
“Alright then!” Li Qingshan said powerlessly.
In the Qing Xiao dwelling, a silver streak of moonlight poured in from the top of the cave.
Li Qingshan laid under the moonlight, gazing at the stars in the hole. Meanwhile, Xiao An laid quietly in his embrace, staring straight at him.
Her seaweed-like hair poured down like a waterfall, scattering on the stone platform and draping down the edges.
A while later, Li Qingshan lowered his head. “And then?”
“There’s no and then.”
“Just like this?”
“Just like this is enough.” Xiao An embraced him even more firmly.
“Alright then! You sure are easy to appease.” Li Qingshan sighed with a smile. He also found this quite nice.
“Then we’ll stay like this for a century!” Xiao An’s eyes shone even more resplendently than the brightest star.
“Huh? A century here?”
“Yeah. Aren’t I easy to appease?” For once, Xiao An showed a hint of mischief, and only then did she conform to her appearance as a young maiden.
“You’ll get sick of it very quickly!” Li Qingshan pinched her cheek and treated it as a child’s talk.
“I won’t get sick of it.” Xiao An paused for a moment and repeated herself, “I won’t get sick of it!”
What she had been pursuing was not a distant land, but here. She worked hard on cultivation just so she could hold onto this moment for longer. In a quiet world without anyone to disturb them, only they existed. That was paradise.
Suddenly, Li Qingshan felt an impulse. Like what she had said, so what if he spent a century, a millennium like this? However, this impulse vanished in a flash. Compared to his dream, it was only like a gentle breeze, unable to leave behind a mark. Then he felt a little apologetic. Have I been thinking too much?
Xiao An abruptly smiled, rolling over and climbing on top of him. She raised her right hand and pointed at the depths of the starry sky. She said, “I want to go to beyond the Nine Heavens!”
In that moment, the radiance she gave off even left Li Qingshan dazzled. In a daze, he realised just how beautiful she was. Normally, she was always like a blank sheet of paper, a pool of clear water, pure and immaculate. But in that moment, she seemed to be dyed with the strongest, brightest colours, which gave him a sense of unfamiliarity, yet also a sense of déjà vu.
“Didn’t you just say you’ll stay here for a century?”
“I might be a skeleton, but I also have a heart!” Xiao An lowered her head and pressed her hand against his chest gently.
PS: We’re about to begin the second half of the story in “A Dream of the Mist Province”. It’ll touch on many new characters and stories, which requires some consideration, but I also might be worrying too much. I’m always afraid of writing badly, so I’m afraid to set about it rashly! Anyways, please forgive me for the release rate. Once I get through this tribulation, it’ll speed up!