Chapter 755 – A Storm Brews, the Trip to the Sword Collection Palace
“You must be joking, fellow Yin! I’m a disciple of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga!” Li Qingshan could not help but smile after blanking out.
“A secular disciple.”
Yin Xiaochou corrected him. Secular disciples possessed a very low status in the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. They did not even have the right to set foot in the inner courtyard, let alone practise any powerful cultivation methods. They did not receive any resources either. All they could do was borrow the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga’s reputation to save them from harassment.
“Then do you know who my master is?”
Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. He was different from regular secular disciples. The master he had taken on was a powerful cultivator of the third heavenly tribulation, and he practised a cultivation method from the apex too. Just what gave the Sword Collection palace the right to ask whether he wanted to join or not?
“Who doesn’t know about the Unraging master?”
“Then I don’t understand. Even if I want to join the Sword Collection palace, is my master supposed to allow me to?”
Li Qingshan was surprised. A master-disciple relationship was very important within the cultivation community. In particular, when your master came from a large sect and was a powerful cultivator that had undergone the third heavenly tribulation, this was an unshakable relationship.
“We’re not saying you should become a disciple of the Sword Collection palace and take on a master. Instead, you’ll be like elder Zhou Tong of the Clear River prefecture. You’ll be a guest elder.” Yin Xiaochou explained.
Yin Xiaochou had reported his loss to Li Qingshan to the Sword Collection palace, which garnered great attention. It was not only because of his cultivation, but also because Yin Xiaochou had said, “This person’s path of the sword even surpasses mine!”
That left the palace master and the elders in some disbelief. Yin Xiaochou had grown up learning the sword, practising ingenious sword techniques in the Sword Collection palace his entire life. He had even inherited the sword intent within the Breaking Water sword, yet he actually claimed he was worse than Li Qingshan. That intrigued them.
Absorbing second heavenly tribulation cultivators into the sect as guest elders was one of the traditions of the Sword Collection palace. They all had a chance regardless of their identity and origins. Some guest elders were even the masters of other sects. As long as they became a guest elder, they could view and study the first-rate cultivation methods and sword techniques of the Sword Collection palace.
But not all cultivators that had undergone the second heavenly tribulation had a chance at becoming a guest elder of the Sword Collection palace. They had to use the sword and study the sword, and when they died, they had to leave their swords behind on Sword Collection peak.
The Sword Collection palace had not accepted the slovenly daoist priest Zhou Tong as a guest elder just because of the person he was, but also because of the Lightning Slaughter sword in his possession.
With Zhou Tong’s cultivation, living for a few centuries was no problem. As long as he constantly used the methods of the Sword Collection palace, he could even refine a lump of earth into something completely new, let alone the Lightning Slaughter sword that was already an arcane artifact. It had a very good chance at becoming a powerful arcane treasure.
It was exactly through this method that the Sword Collection palace collected the renowned swords through the world. Even an arcane treasure that cultivators could only dream of like the Soaring Dragon sword could not make it within the Ten Renowned Swords, which only demonstrated the depths of their foundations.
“I see.” Li Qingshan came to a realisation. Then he asked, “But when you said getting my hands on a good sword, am I also allowed to draw a sword from the Sword Collection peak?”
He had no good impression of the Sword Collection palace. From the Soaring Dragon Elder to Fu Qingjin, they were both people who had once forced him into dire straits, but the temptation of an arcane treasure was far too great. He thought, With my charisma, wouldn’t those Ten Renowned Swords or whatever all fly towards me when I’m on that Sword Collection peak or whatever it’s called?
“Regular guest elders aren’t allowed to draw a sword from Sword Collection peak, but you don’t seem to be in possession of a suitable sword, which is why we’re making an exception. With your talent for the path of the sword, you’ll definitely climb to even greater heights if you practise the sword techniques of the Sword Collection palace!” Yin Xiaochou said seriously.
Although Li Qingshan had defeated him, he did not develop any resentment because of it. He gave his full attention to the Sword Collection palace’s mission. This level of tolerance clearly did not coincide with his age and experience. Most of it came from the influence of the Breaking Water sword, which only demonstrated the value of a fine sword to the Sword Collection palace.
However, he did not tell him everything. The reason why the Sword Collection palace wanted to make an exception for the first time and let Li Qingshan draw a sword from the Sword Collection peak was because his path of the sword had caught their eye. Just like how it was “becoming one with the sword”, not only was it about the sword assisting the person, but it was also about the person nurturing the heart of the sword. A good swordsman could make a sword grow and strengthen drastically.
“I’ll consider it!” Li Qingshan said in thought.
“Please take you time.” Yin Xiaochou said nothing more after that.
Apart from Hua Chengzan, everyone present was surprised. Originally, they still found it rather surreal that Li Qingshan had undergone the second heavenly tribulation, but they were forced to sigh and admit it now. Before they knew it, he had actually reached that step already.
A sect like the Sword Collection palace was something they looked up to. Even Hua Chengzan becoming a disciple of the Sword Collection palace was something worth celebrating. However, he still had tests to pass, while Li Qingshan had been directly invited to become a guest elder. That was quite a difference in treatment. They also understood slightly why Hua Chengzan had not held a great celebration. Otherwise, Li Qingshan definitely would have replaced him as the point of focus as soon as Yin Xiaochou brought that up.
Hua Chengzan invited Li Qingshan, Xiao An, and Han Qiongzhi to take their seats first. He smiled. “No matter what happened in the past or is about to happen in the future, we’ll have a hearty drink tonight!”
Li Qingshan sat down with a smile, and Xiao An sat down right next to him. Han Qiongzhi sighed. Right when she was about to go and find another seat, she suddenly felt her waist tighten, having been pulled into Li Qingshan’s arms already. He asked with a smile, “Ma’am, where are you trying to go?”
Han Qiongzhi reddened rapidly. “Let go of me!”
Li Qingshan raised a jar of alcohol and drank it all. He laughed aloud. “I’m afraid I can’t abide!”
The smell of alcohol wafted into the surroundings, and Han Qiongzhi seemed to catch the scent too. This man who had once made her, someone who did not even know what love was, fall in love at first sight, had become even bolder than before. A simple smile from him possessed the charm to steal her heart. That was true in the past, and it was no different right now. Even though they could not become partners of cultivation, even though they spent more time apart than together, she did not feel any regret.
Everyone roared in laughter. Only when Li Qingshan saw her grow redder and redder, almost to the point where she was embarrassed out of her mind, did he release her, making her sit right next to him. However, he still had his hand around her waist to prevent her from running away.
Han Qiongzhi elbowed him viciously. Unable to break free, all she could do was give up. She was embarrassed, but there was a hint of happiness in her eyes.
The group drank under the moon, which sure was cheerful.
“Qingshan, if you become a guest elder of the Sword Collection palace, we’ll be able to travel together,” Hua Chengzan said.
“If it’s possible, I’d obviously like to draw a renowned sword. However, I still need my master’s permission with regard to this. I can’t make the decision arbitrarily.”
Li Qingshan glanced at Yin Xiaochou. He was currently drinking by himself, sombre like he was drowning his sorrows through drinking. But in Li Qingshan’s eyes, he only seemed like another poser. A legacy from the sword just was not his personal comprehension. A slight difference existed.
Since this kid is bold enough to mention it- no, since the Sword Collection palace is bold enough to mention it, don’t tell me they’re certain that the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga will agree to it? Otherwise, wouldn’t they completely embarrass themselves? Or is the Sword Collection palace thinking of forging an alliance with the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, and they want to use me as a binding force?
Li Qingshan contemplated and gradually made up his mind. Suddenly, he raised his head. “It’s going to rain.”
Everyone looked up. The bright moon hung in the middle of the sky with only a few, wispy clouds floating through the deep-blue night sky. It did not seem like it was about to rain at all!
But very soon, fierce winds arrived, whistling past the mountain peak. Like a huge, invisible hand pulling over a great curtain, dense clouds shrouded the entire sky in the blink of an eye, weighing heavily down on the mountain peak. It was like they were within arm’s reach.
“A storm is brewing!” Li Qingshan said slowly.
After the war in the Clear River prefecture passed, the situation across the nine provinces gradually began to shift over the past few years. Battles between humans and daemons constantly erupted, and the demonic sects that had been suppressed for several millennia began to emerge once more, stirring up a vicious mess in the Cloud, Mist, Frost, and Thunder provinces.
The Great Xia empire’s control over the various provinces was rapidly declining. Actually, that was already evident from the White Lotus cult. In the past, even if the White Lotus Mother had fled to the Mist province, she would have to tuck her tail between her legs and behave. Why would the Hawkwolf Guard allow her to rebuild her headquarters in such a brazen manner? But now, no one cared anymore.
And, that was the boundary of the Mist province that was very close to the Green province and the Dragon province. If he went further south by another several tens of thousand kilometers, he could basically imagine what the South Sea commandery would be like.
The time when order disintegrated was also the time when weapons would be raised. Everything would depend on strength. The Sword Collection palace and the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga were both so-called orthodox sects. At such a critical time, strengthening their unity was an obvious choice.
“Yeah!” Hua Chengzan sighed. No one present was stupid. They could all tell what Li Qingshan was implying, and they sank into their thoughts. For a moment, the terrace was silent. Only the wind whistled through the air.
Everyone had personally experienced the brutality of the war in the Clear River prefecture, but looking at it now, that was merely a small problem, the calm before the storm. Even greater problems were awaiting up ahead!
The dark clouds blotted out the moon and large droplets of rain fell down. The surroundings were pitch-black, filled with the pitter-patter of rain, but surprisingly, there was no thunder.
The halls below the mountain shone brightly with lantern light, but they seemed to become dimmer, wavering in the wind and rain.
The rain was unable to reach them, but the atmosphere had become rather stifling without the moon and stars.
“The orthodoxy of the world needs to be protected by the swords of my generation, to guard the common people from suffering!”
Yin Xiaochou stood up solemnly. His black hair flew through the air, and he radiated with might.
With a clang, he drew the Breaking Water sword from his sheathe and swung it at the pitch-black sky.
The slash passed by in a flash, like a bolt of lightning that darted across the night sky.
A crack appeared in the clouds silently, allowing the moonlight to pour through and the starlight to twinkle.
“What a sword! What swordsmanship!” Everyone praised loudly. The clouds seemed close, but they were very far away. Slashing open the clouds from so far away was basically a marvelous feat.
“It’s all thanks to the defeat you granted me that day, fellow. It’s given me quite the inspiration, allowing me to comprehend something new about the path of the sword. Why don’t you show us your abilities so that you can widen our horizons?”
Yin Xiaochou turned around and stared at Li Qingshan. He wanted to show off the might of the Breaking Water sword, and he had a vague intention of sparring. Your cultivation might be higher than mine, but what I can do isn’t what you necessarily can do. I’m not your opponent right now, but once I undergo the second heavenly tribulation, you definitely won’t be my opponent.
Li Qingshan stood up lazily and tossed the empty jar of alcohol off the cliff, pushing forward with both hands.
“Ocean Wielding—The Cloud Parting Form!”
The clouds surged and shifted out in all directions. Before long, almost half the clouds in the skies had been parted, and the moonlight became even clearer.
Li Qingshan said, “Fellow Yin, I will report this to my master. If he doesn’t object to it, I’ll definitely pay the Sword Collection palace a visit with you!”
The banquet came to an end, and everyone dispersed.
Very soon, the Unraging monk gave his answer. He wanted Li Qingshan to make the decision himself, and he only had a single request, which was to not tarnish his reputation!