Chapter 862 – The Merfolk Sea Fair (Seventeen)
That took Li Qingshan by surprise. Originally, he had only asked that thoughtlessly. Probably even the Merfolk elders he had seen today did not know a secret cultivation method like All Waters to Ruin’s End. He never expected her to actually know!
He became even more certain that her resemblance to Gong Yuan was not just a false impression. However, since she refused to talk much about it, then he could not ask much about it, so he asked the main question he had in mind.
“Can you teach it to me?”
“I can.” Ru Xin answered without the slightest hesitation. “However, even if I teach it to you, you won’t be able to practise it.”
“Practising this cultivation method requires connecting with Ruin’s End. You can’t achieve that just by finding any old sea abyss. In my knowledge, it’s only possible through the Heart of the Abyss, but that’s a supreme treasure that only merpeople can forge. It’s currently in Gong Yuan’s possession.”
“Then what if I try to exchange for it? Such as offering the virus you created?”
“That’s impossible. The method for forging the Sea of the Abyss has already been lost. The royal court of the merpeople only has a single one too. Once they lose it, Gong Yuan’s cultivation will halt for good, and I’ve already made up my mind about what I want to exchange for.”
A path of cultivation was critical to all cultivators, especially when it came to a powerful cultivator like Gong Yuan. Li Qingshan suspected that even if he threatened extinction to the entire race of Merfolk, she might not necessarily hand over the Sea of the Abyss.
“That sure is troublesome. Whatever. I’m in no hurry anyway. I’ll think about it when the time comes!” His priority right now was to push the Phoenix Transformation to the fourth layer. Once his strength had increased, taking it by force was always an option. “Oh right, what do you want to exchange for?” Li Qingshan asked curiously.
“The Lost Stalks of the King of Yue.”
“Huh? What’s that?”
“One of the things that the King of Southern Yue wants the most, or more accurately, a set of incomplete cleromancy stalks. They’re mister Ram’s greatest objective for this visit.”
“I still don’t get it.”
“In the ancient times, there had once been a King of Yue skilled in divination that had attacked the Crystal Palace in an attempt to annex the South sea into the Kingdom of Yue’s control. Because of a major storm and the tenacious resistance from the Merfolk, it ended in failure, and he lost half a set of cleromancy stalks crafted from dragon bones and dragon horns in the South sea, which is why it’s called the Lost Stalks of the King of Yue.”
“Crafted from dragon bones and dragon horns!” Li Qingshan was slightly amazed. Just the material alone allowed him to understand the value of these cleromancy stalks.
Legends had it that in an ancient era even before the otherfolk had conquered the world and established the nine provinces, daemons had once ruled the nine provinces. Back then, there were still numerous divine beasts and strange beasts like phoenixes, xiezhis, qiongqis, and so on. Dragons were the leader of all daemons. That was also where the Dragon province’s name came from.
“Merpeople are unpredictable, which is why the King of Yue ordered the Myriad Poison Ancestor to accompany him, even bringing the Silver Dragon King as a form of deterrence. I just went with it, as it’ll be easier for me to bargain with Gong Yuan when the time comes too.”
“Don’t you have a direct conflict of interest with the King of Southern Yue’s estate then? Xiao An said that mister Ram has already begun suspecting the two of you.”
The Lost Stalks of the King of Yue were not of any practical use to Li Qingshan. Even if he obtained it, it would be an incomplete set, but that was different to the King of Southern Yue. Right now, they were on the brink of war with the Green province. Just like how “many calculations lead to victory and few calculations to defeat, let alone no calculations at all” from Sun Tzu’s Art of War, the path of divination played a critical role in major wars like that. It could basically determine the outcome of the entire war.
This aspect also happened to be the Mist province’s greatest flaw. The Green province was much smaller than the Mist province, but their system of the entire hundred schools was relatively complete. The school of Yin-yang specialised in this aspect, while the Mist province was far too chaotic. The path of divination offered almost no increase in battle prowess at all, so basically no one was willing to learn it.
As a result, it would not be wrong at all to say that the Lost Stalks of the King of Yue was one of the items that the King of Southern Yue wanted the most right now. However, that was also the exact reason why the King of Southern Yue’s estate would view anyone who got in their way or disrupted their plans as an enemy, and if the disruptor just happened to be from the Green province, they could basically write them off as a spy immediately and hunt them down to the ends of the world.
At the very least, Li Qingshan had no intentions of directly clashing with the King of Southern Yue right now. Otherwise, it would be utterly pointless for him to attack Fire Melt mountain. Just a savage barrage from the Silver Dragon King overhead would be enough to take down any standing formation.
“If he suspects you, then let him suspect you! It’s not like we’re trying to disrupt his plan. Just let him talk with Gong Yuan first. Though, with the kind of person that woman is, hehe, you’ll be rendering the King of Southern Yue’s estate a great service once you obtain the Lost Stalks of the King of Yue.”
“Of course. A treasure as precious as that can’t be handed over so easily. It’ll be the king’s estate’s turn to beg me.”
Li Qingshan suddenly came to a realisation. He was already relatively close with the Great Banyan Tree King. If he could get the King of Southern Yue on his side on top of that, then who could still touch him in the Mist province? He would be immovable no matter where he stood, whether it was on Savage mountain or Fire Melt mountain.
He felt rather touched. Ru Xin had considered so much, all just to assist his plan at the end of the day.
“Apart from pledging myself to you, I really don’t know how I can repay lady Ru Xin’s kindness.”
“You can repay me with revenge!”
“Haha, compared to paying back kindness, I still prefer payback!”
Ru Xin fell silent for a moment, with only the lonely sounds of rain present. She suddenly said, “When you’re free, come with me to a place!”
“Anywhere, through fire or water.”
After Ru Xin left, Li Qingshan passed on the information he had received to Xiao An. Xiao An thought about it for a moment. “I was originally worried that assisting the Merfolk in breaching Fire Melt mountain would break the balance between the two races, which the King of Southern Yue would never accept. That’s not a problem now.”
Li Qingshan also felt the path lying in front of him had become much clearer. He was about to leave the building and return to his residence when a streak of white light passed through the night rain and arrived before him.
Yu Wufeng said, “My king, my master has invited you over!”
“From tonight onwards, you don’t have to refer to me as “king” anymore. The path of the sword is about staunchness and resolve, to rather break than bend, after all. Always grovelling around won’t be good.” Li Qingshan’s voice was filled with confidence.
“Hopefully.” Yu Wufeng smiled.
Sure enough, when Li Qingshan arrived before Ye Duanhai again, he received the equal treatment he had been anticipating the entire time.
There were not a lot of people present, just Ye Duanhai, the Elder of Cultivation Methods, Li Qingshan, Xiao An, and Yu Wufeng. They began an amiable negotiation as equals.
Actually, the entire process was extremely quick. Ye Duanhai did not say any pleasantries at all, cutting right to the chase. “Conditions!”
“Fight for me once.”
Li Qingshan did not go overboard, which brought relief to both Yu Wufeng and the Elder of Cultivation Methods. Compared to a genius disciple who could potentially become a great sword cultivator and the Fogbow sword that was on par with arcane treasures, this condition could be described as quite generous.
“When, where, and who? Definitely not the King of Southern Yue’s estate, or the royal court of Merfolk!”
“Don’t worry, it’s neither. It won’t cause the South Sea Sword pavilion any disastrous trouble either. You’ll obviously know when the time comes.”
“How can I believe you’ll hold up your word?”
“Just ask your own heart! I also have some secrets that I need Yu Wufeng to swear that he’ll never divulge before I release the blood oath. However, there are no oaths that can keep a great sword cultivator bound, so all you can do is ask your own heart,” Li Qingshan said calmly.
“Alright!” Ye Duanhai was blunt and direct. “See him off!”
Li Qingshan still preferred this kind of straightforwardness, but it had really taken him quite the effort in order to earn this straightforwardness.
Just like that, there was the master of the sword pavilion and the Myriad Poison Ancestor, as well as Xiao An and him. He had completed his early stage preparations for this battle. Only with a force like that would he be qualified to interfere with the conflict between two races, taking Fire Melt mountain for himself and obtaining the divine wutong tree!