Chapter 108 – Homeland Far Away From Home
Li Qingshan said, “Are you here to send off Li Long?”
Caretaker Liu said, “F- for you as well. Er- Qingshan. You really have achieved success. I hope you can forget about what happened in the past.” The current Li Qingshan was an indomitable figure of importance in his eyes. Even when caretaker Liu spoke, he struggled to string words together.
The other villagers came up to congratulate him. They even carried their own produce, which all of them shoved into Li Qingshan’s hands.
Looking at these familiar faces, Li Qingshan became filled with emotions, actually momentarily forgetting how to respond. Ever since he was born, he had been constantly longing to leave the Crouching Ox village, but all of a sudden, every single house and every single strand of grass from the village seemed to flash past his eyes vividly.
At that moment, the deep well that had trapped him for over a decade that he had constantly wanted to leave, the mud and lichen that he found disgusting, all seemed so familiar. Village head Li hugged Li Long as tears streamed down his face. The surroundings were in a noisy clamour, but everything suddenly fell silent when it reached Li Qingshan’s ears.
Li Qingshan even discovered his big brother and his sister-in-law among the crowd. They were both jittery, cowering from the wealthy people of the city. They looked at Li Qingshan, wanting to come up to say something, yet too afraid to approach him. At that moment, they were filled with regret. If they had not fallen out with Li Qingshan, who knows how much glory they would have received because of him. They saw Li Qingshan look at them, and rays of hope erupted in their eyes.
However, Li Qingshan immediately shifted his gaze. What should be severed had already been severed. They could not cry over spilt milk. It was not that he could not forgive them, but because they were already worlds apart now. Moreover, they failed to understand that there was an even higher chance for them to be targeted and subsequently killed compared to wealthy people simply by being his relatives.
Yan Song passed an order, and everyone parted to the two sides. A large, horse-drawn carriage rushed over. Both horses were extremely well-groomed.
Li Qingshan, protector Yan, Li Long, and the four children boarded the carriage together. The carriage moved slowly, stopping in front of the government office. Ye Dachuan and the advisor boarded the carriage in delight. With the protection of these masters, it would be impossible for them to come across any danger along the way.
Li Qingshan saw the item in Ye Dachuan’s hands. His eyes lit up. “The Stone Splitter bow!” He had left this bow in his courtyard within Qingyang city. He had gone back and taken a look as soon as he returned, but the courtyard had already been cleaned, and someone new had moved in. Obviously, he had no idea where the Stone Splitter bow had gone, and he did not try to look for it either. He never thought it would be in Ye Dachuan’s hands. He tugged the bow gently with his index figure, and he managed to draw it with great ease. With his current strength, even firing a hundred arrows consecutively with this bow would pose no problem.
In a pavilion five kilometers from the city, Li Qingshan saw the master of the Stone Splitter bow once again.
Huang Binghu said, “Congratulations, Qingshan, on making progress with your strength yet again.” He discovered that he could no longer see through this teenager anymore. However, he was very well-informed as well. The only person who could defeat an innate master in an open confrontation was another innate master. He had achieved the goal he stated in the past, and he only used a few months.
Li Qingshan smiled. “Hunting chief, you haven’t wasted any time either.” He could tell that Huang Binghu was extremely close to the level of first-rate masters now. After a few toasts of farewell, he set off again. Finally, Qingyang city completely vanished behind him. It was no longer visible.
Li Qingshan said to himself inside, Farewell, my homeland!
He had already thought it through; whether it be dying and becoming part of the dirt or soaring through the sky, he would never return again. From today onwards, wherever he was would be his hometown.
They travelled during the day and rested at night. After travelling through the mountains for three days, the surroundings suddenly opened up. Vast plains laid ahead of Li Qingshan.
The golden fields of wheat spanned as far as the eye could see, and the summer breeze kicked up ripples among them. Various villages and towns were interspersed among the fields, with smoke rising up into the sky. It differed from the Crouching Ox village very much.
Yan Song said, “We’ve left the boundaries of Qingyang city. If we travel for another three or five days, we’ll reach Downstream port. We’ll be able to switch to ferries and directly ride down to Jiaping city, or even the prefectural city of Clear River.”
Li Qingshan took out the map that Gu Yanying gave him. With a thought, a speck of light lit up. Downstream port was only a few dozen kilometers from their present location.
Yan Song said in surprise, “A mental map, and a mental map of the Green province at that; this is worth quite a lot. Qingshan, where did you obtain it?”
Usually, the greater the region a map covered, the less detailed it would be, while the smaller the region, the greater the detail. However, mental maps could cover thousands of kilometers and remain extremely detailed, condensing thousands of kilometers into a single square inch. Although it was only a low grade spiritual artifact, it was very valuable, let alone a mental map that spanned the entire Green province.
Li Qingshan said suddenly, “Protector Yan, sir Ye, I’ll be parting with you here!” He had already gained a rough understanding of the jianghu and this world from the two of them over the past few days. At the very least, it was information they knew, so when he travelled alone, he would no longer be completely clueless.
Ye Dachuan said, “What? Didn’t we agree on going together?”
Li Qingshan shook his head. “I plan on travelling by myself and going out for a spin. I’ve made you wait three days for nothing, so my sincerest apologies.” The reason why he chose to set off with them perhaps might have only been due to a certain fear. He was a person who had remained in a village for over a decade, but was now suddenly going to see the outside world. Such a matter was basically like entering a large city. He would always have some fear about this, even going as far as relying on these two people who were not as powerful as him, just so that they could look after one another along the way.
Every single person had an urge to roam, and urge for freedom, but when a boundless, free world was actually presented before them, every single one of them would feel fear and be left at a loss as for what to do. Li Qingshan was the same.
But now, it was time for him to throw these emotions aside. When he left the mountains and saw the vast plains, the glistening fields of wheat and the limpid, gurgling river water, the faint markings on the map all flashed across his mind. They were so beautiful and vivid, yet he had not even covered one ten-thousandth of the area depicted in the map.
They looked at each other, uncertain as to how to convince him. Suddenly, they heard Li Qingshan spread his arms and say to the vast plains, “I want to travel through all corners of the world, across the entire universe! I want to taste all of the delicacies and drink all of the finest alcohol the world has to offer! I want to practise the fiercest abilities, fight the strongest foes, and sleep with the most beautiful women! World, I’m coming! Hahahaha!”
His voice grew louder as he spoke, such that his laughter became thunderous. When he mentioned it, it did sound like a stupid declaration. Was it foolish? Perhaps. The ox that had listened to his foolish oath was no longer here, but he no longer needed to ask anyone, “Will my dream really come true?”
He did not need anyone to answer him. He did not need anyone’s recognition. And obviously, he did not care about other people’s gazes either. The answer was already in his heart.
After agreeing to rendezvous in Jiaping city, these people watched Li Qingshan’s large, tall figure travel off into the distance from the hill. As they watched him enter the golden plains, he seemed like a large child rolling through the wheat, vanishing very quickly.
Li Qingshan’s choice originally seemed rather ridiculous and childish, but in their minds, they all thought of a few phrases together. Dragons swim through the vast ocean. Tigers enter the depths of the mountains.
Li Qingshan did not follow the main path, running madly through the open fields. He arrived at a small speck on the map very soon. It was a city that was much more prosperous than Qingyang city. He did not bother to remember its name. Instead, he directly rushed to their largest establishment and ordered a table of the best food. Every single dish was a local specialty. He had not seen or even heard about many of them before. Every single jar he ordered was fine, aged alcohol of twenty years. Although they were not as great as the spiritual alcohol, they had their own unique taste.
The shopkeeper saw how he was a major client, so he personally came to receive him, even drinking a few cups with him. He suddenly smiled. “There’s no fun in drinking alone. Young master, would you like a few beauties to accompany you?” From how Li Qingshan acted, he seemed like a wastrel who had managed to escape from his clan after quite some difficulty.
Li Qingshan was surprised at first before smiling. “Of course! Why wouldn’t I want any? I have plenty of money!” He acted like the most vulgar upstart there was.
He wanted to work hard on cultivation. He wanted to travel beyond the Nine Heavens. However, he did not plan on being an ascetic. He had sworn that he wanted to marry a woman like Gu Yanying, but before he actually took the oath of marriage with a woman, he had no plans to act like an ascetic monk.
Living in the world was not suffering. Otherwise, people would be better off dead. The distant dream planted seeds of hope in his heart. There was no point to turn it around against him and cause torment.
As a result, around a dozen seductively-dressed women, wonderfully adorned, sat beside him. They giggled as they spoke to him, constantly referring to him as ‘master’ or ‘young master’. They boldly extended their hands into his bosom.
At first, Li Qingshan felt rather unnatural and was teased by a few of the escorts, but he relaxed very quickly. He hugged and touched them without minding it at all, smiling from ear to ear. However, his eyes remained as clear as water the entire time; he was just like a child playing an extremely new and interesting game.
However, it was very easy for children to become bored. He did not actually plan on doing anything. It was not because he had any disdain towards these escorts, but because it was extremely easy for him to grow sick and tired of a game-like thing after having seen the almost perfect beauty of people like Gu Yanying and Xuanyue.
He did not know before, but only now did he understand the meaning of ‘When she smiled she was an extremely charming female. By comparison, all other bower maids became pale.’1
Suddenly, someone flung open the door to the room and yelled, “Can you quieten down!?” He was a young man in expensive clothes, carrying a treasured sword and wearing a treasured head ornament. Just as the saying went, three women made quite the chatter. It was impossible for dining with a table of escorts to be quiet.
Behind the young master was a charming woman. She looked at Li Qingshan in disgust.
Li Qingshan raised a finger to his lips and let out a long hush before yawning and standing up. He casually fished out some silver notes and placed them on the table. The escorts immediately ignored him, scrambling for the silver notes.
Li Qingshan walked past the young master and studied him. The young master placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. He was arrogant, but he did have the power to back up his arrogance. Li Qingshan could tell that he was already an innate master, no, he should have been regarded as a talented Qi Practitioner. The woman behind him was the same. With two Qi Practitioners, they obviously had the right to look down on everyone. In their eyes, Li Qingshan was just a regular wastrel. Cutting him down with a stroke of his sword would be nothing special at all.
1. Comes from the Song of Everlasting Sorrow, which you are welcome to read about here: