Chapter 963 – Towering City Appears, Becoming the Well
“Give a shout and give it a blow! Roaming the world valiantly ah!”
Along the way, Li Qingshan went from being slightly tipsy to quite drunk. His resonant singing broke the silence in the thick forest, scaring countless birds.
Before he knew it, he had already walked for three days and three nights, drinking who knew how many kinds of fine alcohol and eating who knew how many delicacies. He passed another great banyan tree, and his view suddenly opened up. There was not a single tree before him anymore, only huge, twisted roots that resembled serpents, coiling around on the ground like a huge maze.
Leaping onto a tree branch and gazing into the distance, a large, greenish-grey mountain blocked his view. The mountain was uneven and rugged, but it gave off a neat feeling. He looked to the left and right, but he could not see its end. Gazing up, the clouds and mist blocked his view, preventing him from seeing just how tall it was.
“Hmm? What a strange mountain!” Li Qingshan said in a drunken manner. The little phoenix on his back was already drunk out of his mind, producing a few slurred cries.
Along the way, he had already crossed countless mountains, but this was the first time he had encountered such a large and strange mountain. Basically all the mountains he had seen in his life could only be considered as dwarves compared to it.
“That’s not a mountain.” Xiao An had drunk quite a lot of alcohol with him, but her eyes were still clear.
“If it’s not a mountain, then what is it?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about your reason for coming?”
“Do you really think I’m drunk? Hahaha, I’m just kidding. I’ve obviously come to Towering city to see the Great Banyan Tree King!”
Li Qingshan reached there and suddenly quivered, using the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression to suppress the alcohol. His eyes narrowed, and he looked up, gazing through the clouds and seeing the very top. Abruptly, he widened his eyes.
That was no mountain. That was clearly a tree, a great banyan tree that blotted out the sky, the Great Banyan Tree King’s main body.
He had been travelling through the forest the entire time, and the great banyan trees in there all resembled mountains. Half-drunk, he actually failed to notice he had already arrived at the foot of the Great Banyan Tree King, mistaking it for a mountain.
“What, you don’t recognise me anymore?” The Great Banyan Tree King’s laughter rang out from an extremely high altitude, scattering the clouds and mist. His towering figure was completely revealed before them.
A boundless aura immediately filled their faces. That was not the Great Banyan Tree King’s aura—his aura had fused with the surroundings perfectly—but the feeling that a colossal object of nature gave off. He was like a legendary pillar of heaven, upholding the sky.
Li Qingshan became much more sober. He said in praise, “What a ‘Great’ Banyan Tree King!”
“It’s all just an appearance. I’m nowhere near as capable and vigorous as you, my friend!” The Great Banyan Tree King laughed.
“Now this is your true appearance! No wonder they call it Towering city!” Li Qingshan said.
There probably were not a lot of people across all nine provinces that could write off his figure that stood over two thousand meters tall as “capable and vigorous”. Originally, he did not think the Great Banyan Tree King’s main body would be so large seeing how he had so many cuttings. Perhaps he might have been the same size as the other banyan trees. Now that he saw him for himself, the Great Banyan Tree King was actually countless times larger than he had ever imagined. Only the Great Whale King he had witnessed in the South sea could rival his size.
However, the feeling that length and height gave off was vastly different. Thirty thousand meters on flat land was just thirty kilometers, but it was entirely different if it was standing up. Even the tallest peak from Li Qingshan’s past life only stood at around nine thousand meters, and it was standing on a plateau, so the mountain itself was not actually that tall, but the Great Banyan Tree King before him truly stood thirty thousand meters tall. If he had not seen it with his own eyes, he would have never been able to imagine this sight.
“Why don’t you come up? Don’t tell me you’ve drunk too much and can’t fly anymore?” the Great Banyan Tree King said.
“I’m coming!” Li Qingshan unfurled his wings and sped off with Xiao An following close behind.
Only when he reached several thousand meters in the air could he take in the full view of the Great Banyan Tree King. Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. “Sun vines!”
A colossal, golden vine wrapped around the Great Banyan Tree King, giving off a faint, golden glow like a legendary golden dragon. Even the boundless shade became much brighter.
Li Qingshan could not help but become rather puzzled. The sun vine plunged straight into the tree trunk, drawing nutrients from the Great Banyan Tree King’s body. This definitely brought no benefits to the Great Banyan Tree King’s cultivation, so why did he let it entangle him?
When he first met the Great Banyan Tree King, the two requests he had been burdened with happened to be eliminating insects and loosening the bonds of the sun vines. He knew sun vines were extremely vicious parasitic plants that could absorb all spiritual qi. They were basically immune to all techniques.
If this had only been a cutting of the Great Banyan Tree King, then it could serve some defensive purposes, but in the centre of this forest, just who could oppose the Great Banyan Tree King? Who was bold enough to oppose the Great Banyan Tree King? Even if the Great Banyan Tree King’s strength was taken out of the equation, Li Qingshan had seen no less than seven Otherfolk Kings and Daemon Kings on his way here. Coupled with the ones that had not shown themselves, this place was impregnable.
Though, if a sun vine as large as that starts attacking, it’ll sure be terrifying! Li Qingshan thought to himself as he flew to the very top of the tree.
A majestic palace appeared before him. The Great Banyan Tree King had assumed his human form and was waiting for them in front of the palace.
However, Li Qingshan’s gaze landed on the woman beside the Great Banyan Tree King who clung onto his arm and rested her head on his shoulder. She seemed extremely close with him.
A lover? A mistress? I didn’t think you’d be into something like this! Li Qingshan wondered inside.
The woman was enchanting. She had a slender and elegant figure with a resplendent smile across her face. Her head full of golden hair was adorned with a beautiful sun vine flower. She seemed so brilliant, but Li Qingshan instinctively became vigilant over her, reluctant to approach her.
He thought of something and suddenly understood what was going on. So she was the sun vine, and the aura she gave off clearly made her a Daemon King too!
“Qingshan, are you satisfied with how you were received?” The Great Banyan Tree King came up to receive him, while the woman with golden hair followed him blindly, leaning against him the entire time.
“Utterly satisfied!” Li Qingshan patted his belly and let out a belch. He looked at the woman. “May I ask who this fellow is?”
“You can just call me madam Vine. This is my old master Tree!”
The Great Banyan Tree King was about to introduce her when madam Vine beat him to it. Her gentle voice was like the coiling of vines, but she had only glanced past Li Qingshan and Xiao An swiftly. Even the little phoenix did not earn a second glance from her. Her gaze immediately returned to the Great Banyan Tree King’s face, filled with love and attachment.
Li Qingshan cringed inside. Even among human couples, this was a rare sight, let alone the fact that they were two Daemon Kings.
However, a hint of envy flashed through Xiao An’s eyes. She was not envious of their intimacy, but their insistence to watch one another and to never part.
The Great Banyan Tree King seemed to be accustomed to this. As he invited Li Qingshan into the palace, he asked, “How did you feel on your way here?”
“It felt fantastic!” Li Qingshan said from the bottom of his heart. It was not only because of the fine food and alcohol, but also because of the unique “cultures” living between the trees. Just the different races of otherfolk he has encountered numbered to several dozen. Most of them still hunted prey and killed one another, but it abided by the cycle of nature. Regardless of their strength, every single creature had a place to shelter themselves, allowing them to breed and thrive.
Li Qingshan mentioned his thoughts, which made the Great Banyan Tree King laugh aloud. Clearly, he had touched on what the Great Banyan Tree King took pride in.
“Though, you seem to have expanded just a little too much. This probably won’t be beneficial to ascension!”
“What’d I say? Old man, I told you you were wrong. Even this little brother who’s never been here before can see the problem. How does this benefit your cultivation? What do those otherfolk and daemons have to do with you?” Madam Vine grumbled.
“I don’t live for the sake of what’s beneficial to me. Speaking of which, if that’s what I was thinking five thousand years ago, I wouldn’t have you right now.” The Great Banyan Tree King smiled gently and cordially.
“But you already have me now!” Madam Vine said.
“Senior’s magnimanity and kindness fills me with admiration!” Li Qingshan sighed in amazement. He was not exactly a kind person, but he did admire the Great Banyan Tree King very much, and he was a direct beneficiary of this kindness.
“Keep quiet!” Madam Vine shot a glance at Li Qingshan distastefully.
“Don’t be rude!” The Great Banyan Tree King waved his hand. “I have something to discuss with Qingshan. You can go for now!”
“I refuse!” Madam Vine threw a tantrum. Only when the Great Banyan Tree King frowned did she leave him with utter reluctance, directly vanishing into thin air.
The Great Banyan Tree King said to Li Qingshan, “I’ve made a fool of myself.”
“You’re old but vigorous senior, which only fills me with even more admiration!” Li Qingshan said mischievously.
The Great Banyan Tree King shook his head helplessly and invited Li Qingshan into the main hall of the palace. “I’m not as great as you think I am. I’d rather give up on ascending than forsake the common creatures. I’ve invited you here this time because I actually want to ask you to do something for me!”
“Why ask? If you need my help, just mention it. If I can help you, I’ll definitely do everything within my ability.”
Li Qingshan became solemn. He did not agree to it blindly. Paying people back was his principle, but something that could make the Great Banyan Tree King “ask” for help definitely was not something small. All he could do was handle the request prudently. It would only be inappropriate if he agreed to it, only to find out it was beyond his abilities.
The Great Banyan Tree King paused for a moment. He looked up and let out a great sigh. “Of all the living creatures in the world, can any of them go without desiring anything? Even a tree asks for sunlight and rain! Once they develop intelligence and turn into a daemon, they’ll ask for even more. Watching over the creatures of this world alone is a wish of mine, but since I’ve set foot on this path of cultivation, I’m obviously seeking a path as well. Though, you should have realised already. The path I seek is not undergoing tribulations and ascending.”
“Then what path is it?” Li Qingshan asked in wonder. Apart from constantly facing tribulations, was there some other path available?
“Since you’ve met Golden Cicada, has he mentioned his metaphor of the well and his wish to leap out of it?”
“That’s what he seeks. Leaping out of the well is to undergo the heavenly tribulation and ascend, to venture to a vaster, more distant world. After all, are there any cicadas that don’t want to burst out of the soil, shed their skin, and spread their wings? But I’m just a tree. I just want to watch over this world!”
Xiao An said calmly, “The lifespans of daemons far exceeds that of humans, and plant daemons can live even longer than regular daemons, but that doesn’t make their lives endless. There will be a day when they run out of life.”
“That’s correct. Watching over this world isn’t so easy or simple. If it only leads to death, I probably would not have such determination either. After all, I am a living creature as well, so how can I not possess a desire for survival? Longevity has always been the most fundamental pursuit of all cultivators!”
“Then what are you thinking?”
“I’ve thought about this for many years, and I’ve only come up with a single idea, which is becoming the ‘well’!” The Great Banyan Tree King’s deep-green eyes shone with a sagacious light.