Chapter 784 – To Not Brush Aside Superficially, A Gift of a Single Jar of Alcohol
Originally, Qian Liangmu was confident. He was extremely satisfied with his maneuvering, both behaving humble enough such that Li Qingshan could not vent his anger on him, yet also standing his ground against him. He had directly confronted Li Qingshan, forcing him to make a decision and preventing him from brushing this entire matter aside.
When he heard what Li Qingshan said at the beginning, the corner of his lips had already curled up slightly. Since you know the power of the King of Southern Yue, why don’t you just agree to it obediently? He could already imagine just what kind of reward he would receive for completing this mission of persuading him. He would be another step closer to the throne.
If they could pull the two of them to their side, that would be for the best.
However, when he received Li Qingshan’s answer, even Qian Liangmu became stunned despite his mental fortitude. Peng Jingni and Yu Wufeng were taken aback too. They did not think that Li Qingshan would agree to it too easily, but they never thought he would turn down the offer so flatly.
Those few words of his were equivalent to cutting off his own path of retreat. He did not brush it aside, he did not try to mislead, nor did he try to deceive. He simply turned him down flatly, leaving no room for maneuver.
Xiao An looked at him, blinked her eyes, and smiled.
“Commander Li, have you thought it through? Do you know what consequences this will lead to? There are many people in the Mist province who don’t fear the emperor, but there aren’t a lot who don’t fear the King of Southern Yue. Even if there are people like that, they probably don’t have a lot of time left!”
Qian Liangmu was not threatening Li Qingshan. He had no interest in gaining a powerful enemy for the sake of the king’s estate. Instead, he had blurted out this question out of pure surprise. He was tempted to take a peek inside Li Qingshan’s brain and see what he was thinking!
“My life…” Li Qingshan extended his hand towards Qian Liangmu. At that moment, Qian Liangmu felt like the hand could blot out the entire sky. As it loomed towards him, he could not help but lean back. If it were not for the fact that Li Qingshan demonstrated absolutely no murderousness, he basically would have turned around and fled already.
Li Qingshan closed his fingers and smiled. “… only lies in my own grasp.”
Qian Liangmu coughed violently to cover up how he had lost his composure earlier. He let out a heavy sigh. “Sigh, I didn’t think you’d be so loyal to your master, commander, which is quite rare in the Mist province. However, have you ever considered that when you were sent off to the Mist province because of the strings a dishonourable dog pulled, did the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga or the Fierce King of Chu ever help you? The so-called orthodoxy is just a set of hypocritical virtues used to constrain mortals. Cultivators like us should never be bound by anything in the first place.”
“Don’t you understand what I said? I’m not loyal to anyone, whether it’s the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, the Fierce King of Chu, or the King of Southern Yue. I came to the Mist province out of my own free will. Of course, I haven’t forgotten about Si Qing either. Whether it’s debts of kindness or grievances, I’ll return them all on fold.”
Li Qingshan recovered his relaxed and lethargic state, gently playing around with Xiao An’s seaweed-like hair. The smooth, flowing feeling was very satisfying.
“Then I have nothing to say. All I can do is take my leave.” Qian Liangmu stood up and clasped his hands.
“Then please go ahead!” Li Qingshan waved his hand. He thought about it before taking out another jar of alcohol. He tossed it to Qian Liangmu. “Send my regards to the provincial lord. If I have the opportunity, I’ll go to the Mist capital and visit him.”
Qian Liangmu was taken aback again. He felt like the way Li Qingshan did things, every single gesture he made, was unfathomable. Probably all geniuses were a little eccentric, except he forgot the fact that he was also known as a genius in the south.
Qian Liangmu took the alcohol with him and left in a hurry, returning to the Myriad Poison cult and the Mist capital to report back.
Peng Jingni originally stayed back to get in Qian Liangmu’s way, but he did not even have to get a single word in. However, he still felt extremely satisfied after seeing this show.
“Your forthrightness is admirable, fellow!” Peng Jingni personally believed he did not have the courage to remain as calm as ever after turning down the King of Southern Yue.
“I just declined what needed to be declined. There’s no forthrightness to speak of,” said Li Qingshan.
“Though, I am a little confused. Why did you turn him down so firmly, leaving absolutely no room for maneuver?”
Peng Jingni originally thought a sliver of hope still remained with how Li Qingshan had not flatly turned down the South Sea Sword pavilion’s request. He thought that Li Qingshan was fearful of them, but looking at it now, that was not the case at all. He did not even take the King of Southern Yue’s estate properly, so why would he be afraid of their South Sea Sword pavilion?
“The mighty King of Southern Yue is not someone you can just brush aside. If I were to agree, I’d definitely have to go to the Mist capital to receive my appointment. If I can’t offer up my servitude and demonstrate my loyalty by then, why would he spare me? If I try to turn him down then, that won’t be up to me to decide anymore. In the end, it’ll just put me in an awkward position, losing the ability to move about freely. I’ll be despised by the Green province, nor will I have the Mist province’s trust. As such, I have to make a decision.”
Li Qingshan shook his head in disagreement. Many of the times, it was not him who wanted to be resolute. Instead, if he took a step back, he would have to keep on taking steps back. Eventually, he would have nowhere to retreat to, and the conclusion would instead be even worse. Compared to that, he was better off advancing forward right from the beginning and paving a path for himself.
Peng Jingni came to a realisation and let out another sigh. It was such a simple principle. He should have thought of it, except the influence and power of the King of Southern Yue’s estate was far too great, making him think about running away involuntarily.
Then he asked, “May I ask when you plan on paying a visit to the South sea?”
Li Qingshan rubbed Xiao An’s head. “When she wants to go, I’ll send your senior brother with the message.”
“I have a word of advice. This Qian Liangmu is a prince, but he’s actually a dishonourable dog. When he goes back, he’ll definitely twist his words and stir up trouble for you with the Myriad Poison cult and the King of Southern Yue’s estate, so why don’t you just lie low until the storm blows over? The South sea is boundless. Once you’re there, you can choose anywhere you like, and it’ll be well beyond the reach of even the King of Southern Yue’s estate.”
Peng Jingni tried to persuade him. Before he knew it, his attitude towards Li Qingshan had gone from the initial hostility to admiration. He really did not wish to see him die.
If the king’s estate really took action, then Yu Wufeng would have to perish in the process too, but if Li Qinghshan went to the South sea, he definitely would need the South Sea Sword pavilion’s help, which was an opportunity for them to exchange for Yu Wufeng.
“Thank you for your kind intentions, but I don’t think the provincial lord will react so violently,” Li Qingshan said.
If he truly was afraid of danger, he was better off running back to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga. Why would he go to the South sea? If he truly was afraid of danger, why had he come to the south in the first place?
Peng Jingni disagreed with him. How could he leave his life to the hands of others? With his nature, he believed there was a chance for this to happen no matter what, so he wanted to put in a few more words.
“Junior brother Peng, there’s no need to say anything else. My king has his plans. Go back and tell master that there’s no need to worry for me. This is my fate. In the past, I was in a rush to undergo the third heavenly tribulation, such that my foundation was unstable. Even if I were to face the third heavenly tribulation, I would probably die. It’s perfect for me to consolidate my cultivation now. I’ll serve under the King of Savages for a period of time. I’m confident there’ll be a day when I can return to the sword pavilion when the time is right,” Yu Wufeng said.
Since Li Qingshan could even survive the Dragon King of Ink Sea’s pursuit, he obviously had his methods, not to mention the figure of the Great Banyan Tree King probably loomed behind him.
In the beginning, when he was forced to swear the blood oath, he still held hopes that the South Sea Sword pavilion could save him, but during the time he spent declaring war across the south with Li Qingshan, he instead gave up on that thought. He did not want his master to become involved in this mess because of him.
He also understood Li Qingshan a little better. Even if master’s sword is placed right against his neck, he probably won’t yield, so it’ll still be difficult to remove the blood oath in the end. Since he said that it’s not impossible for him to release me in the future, then perhaps it was not just a casual statement. All I can do is wait for this opportunity to appear.
“Yes, senior brother.”
Peng Jingni agreed. Yu Wufeng’s judgement was his judgement. He definitely would not advise them to use force against Li Qingshan once he returned to the South Sea Sword pavilion.
In the end, he said to Li Qingshan, “I have one other unreasonable request, which I hope you can agree to!”
“Let’s hear it?”
“I want a jar of alcohol for my master!” Peng Jingni said. His eyes flickered, and Yu Wufeng nodded.
The Myriad Poison cult, the Poison King palace, the Poison Heart hall.
An old man in green robes sat on the altar. His face was shrivelled, his long hair draped down, but his dark eyes shone brightly. As he opened and closed his eyes, a green streak of light flowed through them.
Qian Liangmu stood below the altar and reported everything that had happened on Savage mountain. He did not do what Peng Jingni expected him to do, twisting reality and telling lies. Instead, he narrated everything that had happened extremely calmly, without a single hint of his own opinion.
The Myriad Poison Ancestor heard the entire story and closed his eyes.
The hall fell silent with that, and Qian Liangmu lowered his head deeply. A while later, the Myriad Poison Ancestor snapped open his eyes and asked, “He told you to give your father a jar of alcohol?”
Qian Liangmu was taken aback. He had always prided himself in his intelligence, but at this moment, he was rather confused by what was going on. Why did he ask about the jar of alcohol over so many more important matters?
“Just one jar?” The Myriad Poison Ancestor followed up.
“What an arrogant brat!” the Myriad Poison Ancestor said sternly.
Qian Liangmu was rather puzzled. Li Qingshan was arrogant in many different aspects, not just with this jar of alcohol. He had no idea about how to respond, so all he could do was continue agreeing.
“You can report back to the Mist capital!”
In the King of Yue’s palace, in a quiet courtyard under a flowering tree, a young man leaned against his hand as he fiddled around with a shiny, white chess piece, contemplating the crisscrossed chessboard.
The tree was an apricot tree, and the flowers were apricot flowers. They were white and bright red, elegant and giving off a faint scent.
The breeze blew over, and the flowers fell like snow. In just a while, the chessboard became covered in a layer of petals. A woman with the same beauty as the apricot flowers pouted and blew them away gently.
Only the two of them were in the courtyard, but the woman was not one of the players. Of course, the man was not posing around and playing against himself either. On the other side of the chessboard, a bonsai sat on the stone seat. A delicate, tiny tree coiled around like a dragon, sitting in the pot. Despite its tiny size, it gave off an aura of age and strength.
“Your highness, prince Liangmu has returned!” An attendant of the palace reported.
“Send him in.”
Qian Liangmu walked in slowly. He bowed towards the young man first. “Greetings to father!”
The young man happened to be the provincial lord of the Mist province, the King of Southern Yue. He continued to stare at the board.
Then Qian Liangmu bowed towards the bonsai. “Tree king!”
The bonsai happened to be a banyan tree, one of the countless clones of the Great Banyan Tree King. He waved one of his aerial roots that held a black chess piece as a reply.
Qian Liangmu was about to bow to the woman when she said urgingly, “Spare the formalities. Say what you have to say. I want to keep watching the game!”
Qian Liangmu obliged in a hurry. Just like in the Myriad Poison cult, he explained everything that had happened in Savage mountain, but this time, he included many of his own opinions. He included his various analyses and evaluations of Li Qingshan and Xiao An, ranging from the various incidents of the south to the situation between the Green province and the Mist province. He spoke for over ten times longer than last time.
The woman became annoyed, while the King of Southern Yue continued to stare at the board. Only when Qian Liangmu finished talking did he look over.
“He gave me a jar of alcohol?”