Chapter 972 – A Grand Banquet
The Great Banyan Tree King’s full beard had fallen away, revealing his true appearance. He was not as old as they imagined him to be. He only seemed to be in his forties. His long, inky-green hair that was originally entangled with his beard had been combed back neatly, possessing natural curls. His long eyebrows were straight and slanted, which made him seem extremely graceful and handsome. Even though he had some wrinkles, it only added to his mature charm.
“Why have you all fallen silent?” the Great Banyan Tree King asked with a smile.
At the same time, he subconsciously reached out to stroke his beard. Only when he touched nothing did he realise that his beard was already gone.
His voice was still grand and sombre, but the feeling he gave off was completely different. Li Qingshan burst out laughing. He was nowhere near close to the wise old man according to his impressions. He was clearly a handsome man in his middle ages. If it were not for his mild and deep eyes, he basically would have suspected he was someone else altogether.
Only now did all the kings respond. They all bowed and congratulated him. The chaotic auras immediately converged around the Great Banyan Tree King.
Only now did Li Qingshan truly sense that this was a colossal group composed of daemons and otherfolk, and they were becoming much closer and more united as the Great Banyan Tree King became the god of the Mist province.
“Tree king, who’re they?”
The Silver Snake King looked at Li Qingshan’s group from the corner of his eyes. He was still badly shaken when he recalled what had happened moments earlier. After becoming a Daemon King, it had already been many years since he felt the horror of being on the brink of death.
“I am indebted to my friend Qingshan’s kindness.”
The Great Banyan Tree King’s reply was simple, but it left the kings extremely stunned. Every single one of them here had received the Great Banyan Tree King’s graces. The Great Banyan Tree King had only ever shown kindness to others, so how could he be indebted to Li Qingshan’s kindness?
“If the tree king is indebted to you, then I’m indebted to you. You can have your punch whenever you want. I’ll never fight back!” the Metal Essence Folk King said.
“That won’t be necessary. It was just a joke.” Li Qingshan smiled.
“So I was the one who had insulted an esteemed guest! Please forgive me, fellow!” The Silver Snake Prince immediately clasped his hands and apologised.
Before Xiao An could even reply, madam Vine suddenly arrived before her with a flash, shoving a glistening fruit into her hands. “Thank you for saving my life.” Then she returned to the Great Banyan Tree King’s side with a flash, but she maintained a certain distance from him the entire time, no longer clinging onto him so closely like before.
More kindness? A saviour!?
Under countless surprised gazes, Xiao An nodded. “I am not worthy, but it would be disrespectful to decline.”
At this moment, a streak of silver light pierced through the air, and the Silver Dragon King sailed over, hovering above the sea of trees. The King of Southern Yue drifted down with a group of great cultivators under his lead to congratulate the Great Banyan Tree King. After a short greeting, he turned to Li Qingshan. “I heard you would be heading up north to the Dragon province, fellow. I’ve come today both to give my congratulations, as well as to see you off!”
The surroundings fell silent. Just what had Li Qingshan done to deserve such good graces from both the Great Banyan Tree King and the King of Southern Yue? Only Ye Weiyang and Ye Duanhai who had personally witnessed that battle understood he completely deserved such respect.
“You’re too kind, your majesty.” Li Qingshan smiled and said, “You don’t want me to go back to the Green province, do you?”
The Green province and the Mist province were still in a state of war. With how friendly the King of Southern Yue was towards him, who knew how the King of Chu’s estate would respond. However, just like how he could not beat up those who expressed good will towards him, he could not blame him for being too polite either. Speaking of which, he never had any plans of becoming involved in the war between the two provinces in the first place, so the Fierce King of Chu’s thoughts no longer mattered to him.
“It would be best if you could stay in the Mist province. The position of honoured guest awaits you at all times,” the King of Southern Yue said kindly.
“How flattering!” Li Qingshan was slightly sarcastic.
“Not exactly.” The King of Southern Yue smiled, turning a deaf ear to the sarcasm completely. The others were all stumped for words. They did not think of this at all.
“It’s getting late, so let’s begin, everyone!” The Great Banyan Tree King raised his arm.
As a result, Li Qingshan set foot in Towering city beside the two kings who stood at the apex of the Mist province. However, his cultivation at the second heavenly tribulation left people rather puzzled.
During the banquet, the King of Southern Yue suddenly pointed at a black speck on the Great Banyan Tree King’s hand and asked, “What’s this?”
Li Qingshan immediately realised what was going on. That was originally the “weak points” on the Mist Province cauldron created by the demon caverns. As it seemed, becoming the god of the Mist province came with a relative price too.
The Great Banyan Tree King gave a slight explanation, and the King of Southern Yue immediately expressed his stance. “I will clean up the demon caverns for you, fellow.”
How could the Daemon Kings and otherfolk kings just sit by? They all responded, swearing they would chase the demonfolk out of the Mist province.
Only madam Vine snorted and turned her head away, showing no respect to the Great Banyan Tree King. The atmosphere became rather awkward.
Li Qingshan came to a realisation. This banquet was not just a celebration. It was also for the sake of uniting everyone’s powers so that he could completely suppress the demon plague. Li Qingshan raised his cup in a toast. “May the two of you clean up the demons and bring peace back to the Mist province.”
The greatest banquet in the history of the Mist province only lasted for half a day. The King of Southern Yue bade farewell and took his leave, and the Daemon Kings and otherfolk kings rushed off too. Towering city fell quiet once more.
The sun set in the west. A spear of red light filtered through the canopy and leaves. Li Qingshan stood up, about to bid farewell.
“Looks like we both still have a very long path ahead of us!” the Great Banyan Tree King said as he passed a Fruit of Wisdom that shimmered with a rainbow glow to Li Qingshan.
“This one seems to be different from the last.”
“This fruit is merged with the fragments that I’ve discarded from the Mist Province cauldron. It has quite an effect,” said the Great Banyan Tree King.
“I wonder if it’s tasty or not.” The little phoenix eyed the Fruit of Wisdom.
“You have your innate legacy. You have no need for my petty smarts.” The Great Banyan Tree King patted his head.
Li Qingshan accepted it carefully. A Fruit of Wisdom like that was enough to change a cultivator’s entire fate. He looked at Xiao An beside him. “Do you want it?”
“I heard that the Fruit of Wisdom can only be consumed once. I want to wait until senior becomes the god of the nine provinces so that you can condense another one for me to taste.”
“Alright. If a day like that ever arrives, I’ll definitely offer it up happily.” The Great Banyan Tree King smiled.
“If the opportunity arises, I’ll collect the other cauldrons for you!” Li Qingshan clasped his hands.
“Just go with the flow. No need to be so insistent.” The Great Banyan Tree King nodded. Originally, this was a feat that even the Ten Daemon Kings and the governors of provinces could not achieve, but the Great Banyan Tree King believed that as long as Li Qingshan continued to go with the flow and grow, there would be a day when he could collect the cauldrons with ease, including the Dragon Province cauldron.
Back then, when he unexpectedly encountered Li Qingshan, he never imagined it would be such a great fortune for him.
“I have something else to ask of you. You know Ru Xin, so please take care of her for me,” said Li Qingshan.
“You’re one step too late. She’s already left the territory of the Mist province yesterday. She’s gone back to the Green province,” said the Great Banyan Tree King.
“What!” Li Qingshan was surprised. He specially chose not to bid farewell to Ru Xin because he wanted her to peacefully cultivate in the south. He never expected her to beat him to it.
“I just happen to have a request too. My madam wishes to go to the Green province with you to take a look, so please take good care of her!” The Great Banyan Tree King raised his hand with a smile, pointing at madam Vine beside him.
“Who’s your madam? Why would I need anyone’s care? Sigh, how did you know I would be leaving?”