Chapter 775 – Survive a Punch, Swear the Oath
My thoughts in the past sure were wrong. Only like that does it make sense. The cultivation community prioritises a cultivator’s independence the most. Why would two powerful and talented female cultivators marry a man against their will, even sharing the same husband?
That might be possible with regular female cultivators, but they both have a chance at breaking through to the third heavenly tribulation. Looks like Xiao An’s father really does know how to run a harem. It’s worth learning from. Though, it still fell apart in the end. Even his daughter ended up dying mysteriously.
Li Qingshan could not help but imagine. In the past, the three of them were childhood friends, innocent playmates of one another, so why did it turn into hatred?
The Sword Collection palace and the Umbral Yin sect probably had a hand in it too. When the clans influenced the sect, it was unavoidable for the clans to be influenced themselves, such that various factions would develop in the clan.
Xiao An’s father sure had it difficult with his harem. He could deal with two women, but how was he supposed to deal with two sects? Coupled with the internal conflict among the factions of the clan, it really was a situation beyond help. In the end, it even cost Xiao An’s life.
In short, the Umbral Yin sect, the Sword Collection palace, and the clan of the King of Chu were inseparable. They were part of one another and completely bound together.
When he first heard the Great Banyan Tree King mention this, Li Qingshan even rejoiced over the fact that he was uninvolved. He was an ascetic buddhist disciple through and through. Although he was merely a secular disciple and did not exactly have peace over all six of his sensory faculties, he had peace over three of them at the very least.
TL: The author is using a play-on-words here. Achieving peace over the six sensory faculties is basically an objective of buddhist cultivation, which happens to be the senses of vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and thought. It basically just means that nothing pesters and annoys you anymore, so Li Qingshan is saying at least he’s not involved with this messy affair, giving him some peace of mind.
If you interpret what the author said literally and insist on indicating three sensory faculties Li Qingshan has peace over, I’d personally say it’s the senses of vision, hearing, and thought in this context. He doesn’t have to see, hear, or think about the tangled situation.
However, the Great Banyan Tree King told him that among the three great sects of the Green province, the one that had the closest relationship with the royal family was not the Sword Collection palace or the Umbral Yin sect, but the buddhist holy land, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. These ascetic monks obviously also had a place in the secular world originally.
The Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga was located in the centre of the Green province, extremely close to South Hub city geographically. That was no coincidence either. Before the establishment of the Great Xia empire, buddhism was the religion of the Kingdom of Chu, and the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga served as the royal monastery of the kingdom. Past lords of the kingdom even underwent tonsure and joined the monastery after abdication.
The monastery had played a decisive role during the several thousand years of war with the Kingdom of Yue. It was the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga that had stood forward and protected the royal family several times when the Kingdom of Chu was in peril. As a matter of fact, even the current abbot, the Dauntless monk, possessed a royal bloodline.
As a result, the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga seems to be neutral, keeping the Umbral Yin sect and Sword Collection palace apart and maintaining balance, but when it actually mattered, they would definitely serve as a mainstay of the Green province. When the Unraging monk went on his rampage and claimed countless lives, it probably was not only the sect that protected him and allowed him to return to the monastery safely. There was probably the royal family too.
As a result, once the two kings began waging war, it would definitely develop into a full-scale war between the Green province and the Mist province. As two genius disciples of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, Li Qingshan and Xiao An definitely would not be able to remain uninvolved. Instead, they would surely become crucial figures to the war.
The more their names resounded, the more likely the provincial lord’s estate would treat them as potential trouble and eliminate them for good. If they actually declared war, the King of Southern Yue might even rush over personally and execute these two geniuses.
However, the Great Banyan Tree King also told him to not worry too much. At the very least, war would not be erupting within the next decade, and his identity as a White Hawk commander would still be of some use. The decline of the Great Xiao empire could not happen overnight. Even when the sun had already set, its afterglow continued to shine for a very long time.
Right now, the two provinces were making preparations too. If the King of Southern Yue personally killed them, then the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga would definitely take drastic action in revenge, and war would immediately erupt. However, while he would not be taking action openly, creating setbacks under the table would be a whole other story.
This was all thanks to the fact that Li Qingshan had moved fast enough. He had killed the White Hawk commander right off the bat. Then he killed his way into Savage mountain a few days later, leaving his tracks a mystery and his fate unknown. Even if someone wanted to create setbacks for him, they would have to look at the situation first.
The Great Banyan Tree King did not give him any direct suggestions, but Li Qingshan understood rather well that he had to continue moving quickly, establishing his framework of Savage mountain before the lurking enemies could respond. He had to use the Blood Oath Scroll to gather ten powerful lackeys and form a formidable force.
That way, no one would be able to look down on him anymore. Even if they wanted to work against him, they would have to consider the consequences. Perhaps the King of Southern Yue might even undertake softer, political tactics to recruit him.
Only then did Li Qingshan understand why Xiao An had chosen Savage mountain after reading through all the records. She might not have been taking every possibility into account, but she had been meticulous and had actively hedged against the risks.
At this moment, a “ghost shadow” was currently circling around the surroundings of Savage mountain.
After a lengthy period of rest, this strongest assassin of the south had finally recovered from his wounds. After facing life-threatening danger, his strength had improved slightly yet again.
This was already his seventh visit to Savage mountain. Every single time, he chose late at night when he could unleash his powers best. The moon and stars were blotted out by clouds, preventing a single ray of light from passing through.
A ghost shadow like him completely merged with the night. He wandered around the surroundings of Savage mountain, observing every single clue and trace available to him as he estimated the enemy’s strength.
As he faced Savage mountain that he had inhabited for many years, it was as if he was facing a den of danger. He was extremely cautious every time he approached the place.
The path of assassination was not about drawing the sword in fury. Instead, it required absolute patience and calmness. Since his enemy needed to be assassinated, they would definitely be more powerful than him, or why would he go to such great lengths? If he wanted to kill an enemy stronger than him, of course he had to pay a price in the process. Even spending several years to plan out an assassination was very common.
He had a vague feeling that his target this time was something huge.
It was a moonless and starless night, both raining and windy.
There are many similar claw marks in the surroundings of Savage mountain. It seems like there was some sort of colossal daemon and a lot of them too. They were the ones that stopped them from running away. Though, the marks don’t match up to any kind of daemon’s claws, let alone a species with so many members. The marks actually resemble the hands of humans instead. Is this also something they’re capable of?
Ghost Shadow observed the marks on the mountains before making his way onto the eastern peak of Savage mountain. He used the vantage point to observe the ruins below.
The city has been thoroughly destroyed. It doesn’t seem like it was destroyed as a side effect of the battle. It seems more like an earthquake.
Ghost Shadow drifted down and wandered through the ruins, stopping in front of a great ditch.
The Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber tried to escape, but he was stopped. Afterwards, he directly clashed with Li Qingshan or Xiao An here, which was why this huge ditch was left behind? They actually managed to send the Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber flying, slamming into the cliff face over there and leaving behind that huge hole. The hole is much smaller than his size, so he was clearly heavily injured, forcing him to use his fat to nullify the damage. That strength is basically terrifying! I definitely can’t confront them head-on!
The more Ghost Shadow observed, the more alarmed he became, but it could not make his determination waver. As he gazed at the main peak of Savage mountain, he became slightly excited. The stronger the prey was, the more worth it they would be to assassinate.
A gust of wind blew over. With the drizzling rain, he drifted up the mountain. Although Li Qingshan had taken over the control over the formations, how could they stop someone like him who knew these formations like the palm of his hand? With his innate ability as a night roamer, he silently passed through and ventured to the centre of the mountain by following the aura.
Suddenly, Li Qingshan opened his eyes. His heart rippled. This was a warning from the spirit turtle that the enemy was already extremely close. However, he failed to find anything with his senses, so he calmed his mind and used the spirit turtle to divine. His lips curled slightly, and he stood up, making his way out.
The pale-white flames in Xiao An’s eye sockets flickered, also sensing something. Li Qingshan nodded at her, and she continued to focus on refining the sword.
The Eight Point formation in the hall of the blood oath is rather troublesome. Although I can force my way through, I won’t be able to do it without creating a disturbance. The senses of the eight desolate beasts are far too sharp. Once the formation is triggered, it’ll be very difficult for me to escape.
Just as Ghost Shadow thought of that, his drifting body suddenly stopped. He thought, The heavens are smiling on me!
The prey had appeared!
Ghost Shadow was not too worried about being discovered by him. He was extremely confident in his concealment. Even if the enemy was a powerful cultivator that had undergone the third heavenly tribulation, they would not necessarily discover him as long as he did nothing.
He had not been planning on carrying out the assassination tonight. He only wanted to observe the prey from a closer distance. He gathered his focus, only to see a man emerge from the hall in the centre of the mountain, making his way down the steps one by one. He was quite tall and large, and his footsteps were firm. His appearance was nothing special, and the aura he gave off was not particularly strong either.
However, Ghost Shadow dared not look down on him. It was very likely for him to be the one who sent the Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber flying in a direct confrontation. He had probably sustained some injuries from that battle, resting up in secluded cultivation the entire time. The fact that he had managed to survive was the best proof of his strength.
As Li Qingshan drew closer, Ghost Shadow gradually felt pressured. It was not from his aura or bearing, but from the instincts he had developed through countless trials of life and death. It allowed him to know which prey were extremely dangerous.
Li Qingshan seemed like he had not discovered anything at all, approaching Ghost Shadow step by step. Ten steps, eight steps, five steps…
When only three steps remained, Li Qingshan’s eyes suddenly became as placid as water. He said nothing at all when he threw a fist at Ghost Shadow, smiling. “An esteemed guest has come to visit, yet I’ve failed to welcome you from afar. Eat my fist first!”
Abruptly, Li Qingshan erupted with tremendous malice. Ghost Shadow seemed to see a roaring tiger instead. Even with his mental fortitude, he was affected to a certain degree. By the time he returned to his senses, the fist had already hurled over. It was too late for him to do anything.
However, Ghost Shadow was not afraid. Having transformed into a Night Roaming God, he could not be injured so easily.
Whether it’s techniques or weapons, they’ll all just pass through my body!
That was his last thought before he fell unconscious.
Shockwaves condensed without dispersing under Li Qingshan’s control, and a black figure was ripped away from the darkness, shaking and rippling away like a clump of ink. He had completely lost control over himself.
Li Qingshan’s fists were capable of shattering space. Although they had yet to achieve that kind of power in this stable world, the “ghost shadow” clearly was not as firm as space.
After over a year of cultivation, he had basically completed his period of nirvāṇa. He was much more powerful than when he faced the Corpse King. Although he could not shatter space, he could shake up space now.
Now, if the Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber confronted him directly again, he would struggle to escape the fate of dying to a punch even if he shed all of his fat.
“It’s actually a night roamer. Too bad he’s a man. Whatever, he’s strong enough. Isn’t this the third one already?” Li Qingshan picked up Ghost Shadow and made his way back.
The strongest assassin in the south could not even endure a punch from him in the end. This was also what Li Qingshan used to measure whether they were strong enough or not. If you eat my fist and survive, go swear the oath!