Chapter 817 – Illusions Arise From the Heart
An extremely familiar voice called out urgently, together with brisk clapping.
Li Qingshan slowly opened his eyes, waking up from the dream. He saw a pure, beautiful face. “Where is this? Who am I?”
Afterwards, he immediately remembered everything. I am Li Qingshan, and this is… the Clam building!
Various memories flooded through his head. Li Qingshan narrowed his eyes, and the confusion on his face became fury. He leapt up and clenched his right hand into a fist, pushing it against the ground as he formed a claw with his left hand. He faced the woman dressed in clothes that were a blend of colours and was as beautiful as a dream.
His various innate abilities were all ready to erupt.
“Fascinating! That’s far too fascinating!” However, the woman seemed to be unaware of this. She continued to clap away, unable to hide her admiration.
“The Clam King of Mirage Sea!” Li Qingshan ground his teeth. “You bastard! Fascinating my ass! C’mon, I’ll take you on!”
His thoughts involuntarily returned to a very, very long time ago…
“The South sea sure is majestic!”
Around dusk, Li Qingshan and Xiao An arrived on the shore of the South sea from Savage mountain. This happened to be a peninsula that jutted out from the land mass. Great winds blew past him from behind. As he gazed out, the sea was boundless, and the waves surged endlessly.
The setting sun in the west dyed the clouds red. The orangey-red light rippled over with the waves from the horizon where the sea met the sky. It was as beautiful as it could get.
Xiao An furrowed her brows slightly. She was in thought. She did not possess the same tranquility as usual.
“What’s wrong? You’re thinking of something?” Li Qingshan noticed it immediately, rubbing her head and asking with a smile.
“It’s nothing.” Xiao An shook her head gently.
“What, there’s something you’re trying to hide from me now? You really have grown up! C’mon, the Mirage sea is near.”
Li Qingshan listened to the Great Banyan Tree King’s instructions and did not waste too much time. He took out the sea chart and glanced at it, gaining his bearings. He was about to set off again.
“Qingshan! The Clam King of Mirage Sea probably isn’t as simple as the Great Banyan Tree King said,” Xiao An said suddenly.
“Really? Let’s travel and talk!” Li Qingshan was slightly surprised.
Along the way, Xiao An told Li Qingshan about all the legends regarding the Mirage sea in her knowledge, as well as the cultivation community of the South sea’s most popular belief of the place.
At this moment, faint mist suddenly drifted over on the surface of the sea in the distance. Normally, Li Qingshan would not care at all, but when he looked over there, he discovered that the mist changed like it was alive, showing certain bizarre scenes.
This was the place marked on the sea chart, the location of the Mirage sea.
“Looks like this Clam King of Mirage Sea doesn’t intentionally set down traps to lure people in. Otherwise, she would have made it impossible to discover,” Li Qingshan said in thought.
Xiao An looked at Li Qingshan, waiting for him to make his decision.
“I knew it. The Clam King of Mirage Sea isn’t that simple, but there’s no reason for you to worry too much either. Fellow tree king must have had his reasons for forbidding you from telling me that, which shouldn’t be to harm me. Otherwise, why would he go to such great lengths? There’s probably some kind of reason for this,” Li Qingshan said in thought.
“Sorry.” Xiao An lowered her head. With how clever and intelligent she was, how could she not understand this? According to normal logic, it should have been most beneficial to him to listen to the Great Banyan Tree King, but she was unable to deceive him, so all she could do was apologise.
“The only mistake you’ve made is saying that word!” Li Qingshan lowered his head and said seriously.
Xiao An’s innocent look made her seem especially piteous.
“Now you understand, don’t you?” Li Qingshan smiled.
“Yeah.” Xiao An nodded with a smile.
“Don’t make this mistake again in the future. Let me divine with the spirit turtle.”
By now, no matter what Li Qingshan did, he was accustomed to divining with the spirit turtle first. He had already divined once when he first came, but the future was shrouded in mist, preventing him from drawing a definite conclusion. It was clearly due to the influence of the Mirage sea, but fortunately, it never showed any omens of death.
No matter how mysterious the Mirage sea was, it was impossible for there to be absolutely no warning with the wonders of the spirit turtle if it were a lethal death trap. That was why he had come here so bravely.
But when he divined again, the result left him a little taken aback. The future was just as blurry as before, but there was clearly danger. It even gave off hints of killing intent.
He could not help but wonder inside, I just learnt a little more and fate has changed in such an evident way? Normally, isn’t it easier to evade danger the more you know? If I had been fooled by lies, then that would make more sense, but the information regarding the Mirage sea is clearly much more realistic compared to the perfect description from the Great Banyan Tree King!
“How is it?” Xiao An asked in a hurry.
“It hasn’t changed.” Li Qingshan smiled.
“Don’t lie to me. Even I didn’t lie to you.” Xiao An pouted.
“Fine then. There seems to be much more danger!” Li Qingshan said.
“Sigh, sure enough.” Xiao An could not help but sigh. This meant that she was actually in the wrong.
“Compared to the bliss of ignorance, I’d rather bear the danger that comes with knowledge. If you lie to me as well, then I’ll feel even more horrible than dying!” Li Qingshan looked into Xiao An’s eyes with a smile and said extremely seriously.
This was why Xiao An had deliberated for a good while before still making a choice she clearly knew was wrong. Their trust in each other was even more important than their lives.
“Do you still want to go?”
“Of course? Since when have I ever been afraid of danger? It’s not like it’s certain death anyway. I’ve even survived close shaves, not to mention that Myriad Poison is still a little more troublesome.”
Li Qingshan smiled and flew towards the end of the sea surface, entering the Mirage sea with Xiao An.
In that instant, the surroundings changed drastically. Skyscrapers pulled up from the ground, forming a concrete jungle. It was clearly a modern city that existed in Li Qingshan’s memories. Under the murky sky, they stood in the centre of a four-way intersection. The complicated traffic lights constantly flashed as the people and cars flowed through.
“It’s no wonder that everyone saw different things in the Mirage sea. So the illusion reflects the world in your mind.” Li Qingshan sighed emotionally.
“So this was where you once lived?” Xiao An asked in surprise. She could tell that this unfamiliar city operated off its own set of principles.
Only two people knew about Li Qingshan’s possession of “innate knowledge”. One was brother ox, while the other was Xiao An. He had mentioned it to her when he plagiarised novels in the past. Of course, it was not some kind of grand, earth-shaking secret in this wondrous World of the Nine Provinces.
“How is it? Isn’t it a mess?” Li Qingshan smiled.
“A little, but you’ve thought about returning, haven’t you?” Xiao An said in thought.
“Of course I have, but I’ve even decided to never return to Crouching Ox village, so let alone here. C’mon, our destination is probably there!”
Li Qingshan pointed into the distance. A pagoda that completely contrasted against the modern landscape stood there, reaching into the clouds and looming over the entire city.
“That should be called the Clam building, right?”
He followed the streets and walked over slowly, arriving beneath the building before long. A signboard of classical elegance hung above the vermillion doors, labelled “Clam Building”.
“Heh, I actually guessed it!” Li Qingshan smiled.
However, a hint of worry appeared in Xiao An’s eyes.
Li Qingshan went up and knocked on the door, loudly stating his reason for visiting. He took out the letter of introduction written for him by the Great Banyan Tree King.
The letter of introduction suddenly moved and broke free from his hand, spiralling into the sky and disappearing into the murky clouds.
Li Qingshan looked up. The Clam building seemed like it was about to collapse. Before long, the vermillion doors swung open, and a voice rang out from the clouds. “Since the Great Banyan Tree King has sent you here, come on in!”
The voice was extremely pleasant, but almost neutral. It was impossible to distinguish its gender.
Don’t tell me they’re actually female? Li Qingshan thought. Although he was tempted to directly fly up, he still stepped through the vermillion doors, and they slammed shut again.
However, the first floor of the Clam building did not have the antique style Li Qingshan imagined. Instead, it was a metallic, futuristic room. A foul air filled his face. In the centre of the room stood a huge monster. Its black body shone with a metallic lustre, leaning forwards and standing on two legs. A spiky tail dragged behind it as it produced a deafening roar, revealing rows upon rows of sharp teeth as it lunged over.
“Why does this look like that Alien Queen! It sure is an illusion. Am I supposed to fight my way up?” Li Qingshan thought as he rubbed his chin. Then he threw a punch, and the monster that resembled an Alien Queen was immediately smashed to pieces. Its blood spattered on the walls and floor, immediately producing white wisps of smoke and eating away huge holes.
“It’s been so many years, but I still remember the characteristic of their acidic blood! If I have some time in the future, I could write another novel and strengthen the Divine Talisman of Great Creation,” Li Qingshan said with interest.
With a crack above his head, a metallic trap door swung open.
“It really is that!”
Li Qingshan gradually realised too that the various scenes in the illusion arose from his thoughts. If he were clueless about the legends of the Mirage sea and purely believed what the Great Banyan Tree King told him, then perhaps everything would have unfolded very smoothly. It was exactly because he believed this trip would not be so simple that an obstacle like this appeared.
If that were the case, then the Great Banyan Tree King’s “lies” made sense. In this world of the Mirage sea, “lies” could become reality. It was exactly because the survivors from the Mirage sea believed in a certain lie that they managed to escape. The most popular belief of the cultivation community perhaps included lethal factors instead. If you believed the Clam King of Mirage Sea used clam qi to hunt, then she actually hunted.
Of course, all of this was purely hypothetical. It was not like he could confirm this from just seeing one side. After all, the Mirage sea was still under the Clam King of Mirage Sea’s control. Perhaps she actually used it to hunt cultivators! Since this belief could be recognised by the cultivation community of the South sea for thousands of years, it was not a groundless rumor.
But he was here already. All he could do was fight his way up!
Not only was Li Qingshan unafraid, but he even became very curious about what kind of monsters would appear instead.
Li Qingshan leapt up to the second floor, but Xiao An remained where she was. She thought of something. Oh no!
If her thoughts were correct, then perhaps the Mirage sea really would become a deadly trap.
The Dream isn’t Over
I’ve read everyone’s comments. Although I don’t want to admit I can be influenced by others, I do feel very happy and very touched. Of course, there’s nothing along the lines of getting moist in the eyes. Oi, is it really that difficult to accept that you’re a feeble mortal?
Sorry, I’ve always been too arrogant, and I’ve neglected your power. I’ve been constantly gazing at the sky, only to forget you were the ones holding me up.
When I look back at the road that led me here, I didn’t walk it alone. I can still remember when I wrote my first novel. When I received my first comment, I felt utterly delighted. I felt I was so powerful! I was a novelist, aha! Oh right, and that comment was cursing me too…
So why now, when I’ve clearly received ten times, a hundred times, a thousand times more comments of praise, that I’m blind and deaf to them?
Now, I can see them all and hear them all. Even if this is the centre of the desert, there are the echoes of thousands!
Climb up to your feet! Keep going!
The dream still isn’t over!
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the most perfect man of them all?”
“Anyone but you!”
“Go die!” Ping!
Alright, I’ll admit that for now, but I want to write a perfect novel! Even if I can’t do it now, even if I can’t do it in the future, even if I’ll never be able to do it, I want to write a perfect novel!