Chapter 845 – Heartblood
With a fleeting thought, Li Qingshan shut his eyes and slowly sank into the hot spring. Even the scorching spring water was unable to hide the warmth from her petite body. Warmth welled up in his heart, far surpassing the insignificant desire within him. They embraced each other firmly. Time seemed to freeze at that moment, which was what they both hoped for as well.
That was until a clap of thunder pierced the thick earth, making Li Qingshan snap open his eyes. That was not regular lightning. Someone was undergoing a tribulation, and from the heavenly might in the thunder, he guessed it to be the second heavenly tribulation. Was it Ru Xin?
“Let’s go and take a look!”
With a splash, Li Qingshan leapt out of the spring with Xiao An in his hands. He picked up her clothes on the ground and scooped up her hair in a single stroke. There was no more hair or water to shield her anymore. Her beautiful body was completely unveiled before his eyes, which made Li Qingshan’s breathing halt. He admired her without feeling self-conscious at all before continuing to dress her.
Xiao An extended her hand through the sleeves, silently enjoying his care.
Li Qingshan dressed her. The moment he tied up her waistband, he actually felt a hint of reluctance. It was as if he was using cloth to wrap up a pearl, hiding this beauty from the world. However, he soon remembered that this pearl belonged to him anyway, which brought him relief.
“The shoes too.” Xiao An then raised her slender feet and shook them around with a smile.
“You sure know how to enjoy yourself!” Li Qingshan crouched down and grabbed one of her slender feet. It fit perfectly in his hand and together with her five pink toes, it was as beautiful as it could be. He could not help but fiddle around with it, which resulted in chime-like giggling right by his ear. Only then did he put on her socks and shoes.
“Are you happy now?” Li Qingshan was about to throw on his clothes when Xiao An stopped him. She smiled. “You can enjoy yourself too.”
She began to tend to him instead, except her actions were indescribably gentle and delicate, leaving his clothes neat and tidy. Gazing at how serious she was, Li Qingshan felt peaceful inside. When she put on his shoes, she sneakily tickled his foot, but before he could even laugh, she began laughing already.
Returning to the hall, Xiao An did not go with Li Qingshan to see who was undergoing the tribulation. Instead, she remained there to cultivate. Li Qingshan had already sensed that it was not Ru Xin undergoing the tribulation either. When he went out and took a look, it turned out to be one of the matriarchs from the night roamer clans of the past. After many years of arduous cultivation, she had finally made it to this point.
Bolts of heavenly lightning emerged from space, striking a black shadow. The process was slightly dangerous, but with her advantage as an otherfolk and the foundation she had built up over many years, she underwent the tribulation successfully and smoothly.
Li Qingshan bequeathed one of the dwellings on the main peak of Savage mountain to her before bestowing her with some pills. With Ye Mingzhu serving as an example, the matriarch came off as extremely respectful and submissive. She thanked Li Qingshan for his bestowments before returning to her dwelling to recuperate.
“Looks like she still needs some more time!” Li Qingshan glanced at Ru Xin’s dwelling and did not disturb her. He passed some instructions onto Ye Liusu before returning to the hall.
Several months later, the Myriad Poison Ancestor arrived before the hall to report back to Li Qingshan. They had already made several breakthroughs with Ru Xin’s plan to refine viruses, but she had to undergo the second heavenly tribulation and strengthen the plague ghost before they could actually carry it out. As a result, she entered secluded cultivation.
“She wants me to pass this bottle of spiritual medicine to the king.” The Myriad Poison Ancestor offered up a tiny jade bottle.
“What is the medicine refined from?”
Li Qingshan held the tiny jade bottle. This time, it was all because of the medicine that could balance water and fire from Ru Xin that he managed to comprehend the second ability of the phoenix in the final moments. Otherwise, he would have to waste a tremendous amount of time undergoing rebirth, and he would not be able to merge with the demon heart.
“Many materials go into refining the medicine, which aren’t exactly precious. But in my opinion, the most important component is her heartblood.”
Li Qingshan was surprised, but he also came to a realisation. The heartblood the Myriad Poison Ancestor was talking about was not Ru Xin pouring her heart and soul into making the medicine, nor was it as simple as blood from the heart either.
The heart was the abode of the soul, the master of the blood, and the source of the vessels. It was extremely important to cultivators. Heartblood was also known as essence blood, which could play a critical role in battles. Often, biting the tip of their tongues and spraying an arcane treasure or arcane artifact with essence blood could greatly strengthen its power and turn the tides. However, it also caused quite the detriment to their cultivation. It was even possible for them to lose their lives in the process.
If he had guessed correctly, her talent even exceeded that of regular otherfolk. She also practised a supreme cultivation method, the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace, on top of that, yet even until now, she had yet to undergo the heavenly tribulation. Li Qingshan could not help but sigh inside. I’ve provided great assistance to her cultivation, but I’ve also unwittingly slowed down her cultivation. She clearly has hatred so deep that she cannot let go of it, yet she’d rather fall out with me than let me risk my life with her. Why must she be like this?
He sent the Myriad Poison Ancestor back to continue with the Scripture of the Poison Assimilation Ghost King before returning to the hall.
The Samādhi Flames of White Bone that were transparent like glass basically filled the entire place, depicting the twisted faces of the Bone Eating shamans. However, with a closer glance, there were only transparent white flames. It seemed to be just an illusion.
Xiao An sat in the flames. Her flesh and blood had faded away, almost to nothingness, completely revealing her set of shiny, white bones. The Skeleton Demons danced around in the surroundings, chattering away like they were singing a horrifying song, yet also containing the essence of buddhism.
The cry of a dragon moved through the flames. Clearly, Xiao An had merged the Chant of Deva-Nāga into her cultivation of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
Li Qingshan stared at her for a good while before shrugging helplessly in the end. He sat down in front of the hall to watch over her.
They all said that the sight of great beauty being reduced to white bone could make the ignorant understand that beneath the beautiful appearance was terrifying white bone, and that all appearances were merely an illusion. However, when he saw her appearance of white bone, he still felt affectionate, fond of her from the bottom of his heart. He did not feel any sensation of terror at all. He felt like every single bone gave off a different sense of beauty.
It had to be mentioned that there had always been something wrong with his sense of beauty. He had always found his daemon form a little cooler and sicker than the handsome Northmoon and the hale and hearty Li Qingshan. He was tempted to just maintain his daemon form forever and run around on the vast earth and mountains naked!
He had seriously considered that once he no longer had to hide his identity anymore and had settled all grudges, he would set off on the shore of the South sea and go streaking across the nine provinces, all the way to the Frost province!
Haha, that’ll leave everyone dumbfounded! Would I be a pervert then? No, you’re better off saying I’m being true to myself than being a pervert. Don’t tell me my true self is a pervert? Whatever, who cares what you call that. It’s fine as long as it’s me.
Li Qingshan agreed with Qiongqi very much from certain perspectives. Calculations of pure rationality over the costs and benefits and constantly drawing on advantages and avoiding disadvantages could result in longevity, but if everyone was like that, how was he different from anyone else?
At least renouncing evil and embracing good could receive favours from good people, earning a reputation and establishing a proper force, but what could renouncing good and embracing evil bring? Since evil people were evil, they would never acknowledge debts and favours they owed to others. This was completely a behaviour and ideology that brought no benefit at all. It challenged the status quo purely for the sake of fun, just like a mischievous, stubborn child, but it also had an element of great liberty and doing as one pleased.
In the book “Water Margin” he had read in his past life, the original forms of the one hundred and eight fine men were revealed right in the beginning—they were a hundred and eight heavenly spirits and earthly fiends imprisoned within the Demon Subduing Hall. There were both people who committed brutal, evil deeds like murder and feasting on the hearts of others, as well as those who upheld justice through violence among them. They seemed vastly different, but they were no different in nature. Whether it was good or evil, they did as they pleased, beyond the concept of rationality. Only the word “demonic” remained.
The book could achieve popularity and be praised by all precisely because it vividly depicted the concept of a demonic nature, allowing the reader to stand in the shoes of these fine men and do things that they usually could not and dared not, acting as they pleased and having a hearty time!
The ‘demonic’ and ‘divine’ in the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine are not just ‘good’ and ‘evil’! The spirit turtle focuses on preserving its longevity and avoiding unnecessary trouble, while the phoenix cherishes its own feathers too. Even if they won’t go out of their way to commit evil, they will never have the spirit of stopping and helping out just at the sight of injustice.
The many thoughts flowed through Li Qingshan’s head, giving him a deeper understanding of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine.
At the same time, Ru Xin took off everything on her and sat down in the Jade Melting cauldron, shining with the lustre of jade. After eating a precious ten-year Virtue Accumulation pill, she began powering up the Jade Melting cauldron and refining herself like a pill. At the same time, she used the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace to form a cloud furnace in her body, refining the Virtue Accumulation pill.
Alchemy was about a combination of fire and water. The Jade Melting furnace surged with fire and water, and with a twirl of her hands, it gathered in her palm, actually merging together in a wondrous manner and turning into a fiery cloud. The cloud gradually permeated the surroundings and swallowed her.
The powers of water and fire actually surged through the cloud furnace in her body as well, and it was even more pure than the water and fire from the Jade Melting furnace. It merged together naturally too, rapidly refining the Virtue Accumulation pill.
Regular cultivators could never achieve this. Even if they could, they would never do it like this. The potent effects of the pill immediately filled her entire body. Although she had become as tough as jade, she was close to bursting.
This method of cultivation doubtlessly came with intense pain, but she seemed to turn into an actual rock, devoid of any sensations. Her face did not change. Only her eyelashes trembled gently.
She focused on multiple things at the same time, controlling the Jade Melting cauldron and suppressing the medicinal effects externally while circulating the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace, tempering her body as she refined the Virtune Accumulation pill. At the same time, she had to balance the powers of water and fire both externally and internally. She had pushed her cultivation speed to the limit without the slightest hesitation.
Even a single step in the wrong direction came with the danger of blowing up the cauldron. By then, it would not just be the Jade Melting cauldron, but the cloud furnace within her too. She was not in a hurry to break through to the second heavenly tribulation. Instead, this was the danger that came with practising the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace.
The history of the nine provinces was as vast as the smoke and sea. There had been far superior cultivation methods from other worlds that had reached here than just the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace. Even if cultivators would view them as treasures and keep them to themselves once it fell into their possession, the reason why they had never become widespread was because they were nothing but difficult to practise. The demand they placed on talent was nothing but high as well. Even if they were fortunate enough to possess the aptitude and had overcome all the difficulties involved, it still came with great danger and risk. Who knew how many geniuses had died because of it.
Perhaps because Chu Tian saw something in her when she treated him, the Heavenly Tome of Cloud Furnace was extremely compatible with her, where she progressed very rapidly. Of course, the tremendous amount of resources that Li Qingshan had provided her with played a crucial role as well. Just the ten-year Virtune Accumulation pill from the Myriad Poison cult was a serendipity.
Cultivation was timeless. Day and night interchanged and time flew.
A rumble echoed from the distant horizon. She opened her eyes.
“It’s… finally here!”