Chapter 111 – A Great River and a Great City
The three unknown yellow talismans were probably the trump cards Qian Rongming had referred to. He had learned about this from Yan Song as well. Talismans were divided into various grades. Although the three talismans were all yellow, they glowed much more brightly compared to the talismans on Li Qingshan right now. They were low or mid grade at the very least. His insight regarding talismans was still insufficient to determine it precisely.
Most of the talismans and spiritual artifacts that ordinary people of the jianghu could get their hands on in exchange for money were inferior goods; people who had just learned how to create artifacts or talismans created them. Even if ordinary people could get their hands on talismans and spiritual artifacts that actually had a grade, they would struggle to use them. At the very least, they would struggle to activate a low grade talisman even if they bit their tongues and spat out blood.
There was finally no more need for him to carry his random objects on him. Apart from keeping the sumeru ring on him, Li Qingshan placed everything else he owned inside the pouch. After checking his money and the silver Qian Rongming had been carrying, he had a total of seventy or eighty thousand silver notes, several talismans, and three bottles of Qi Gathering pills. He did not take smaller items like healing pills into consideration.
However, the most precious item on him after the sumeru ring was not these items, but a daemon core. He had removed it from the rat general in the Boundless mountains. Xuanyue obviously had no interest in it, so she gave it to Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan had no idea how to consume it, nor was he bold enough to eat it directly, which was why he kept it. He had stored it in a small bottle the entire time. He took it out again to admire it before placing it in the hundred treasures pouch as well. Finally, he placed the hundred treasures pouch in his bosom.
His drastic increase in wealth brought about quite a nice feeling. Li Qingshan’s murderous nature had been roused, so he wondered whether to go all the way and find that Qian Rongzhi, uprooting this potential problem once and for all. It had to be mentioned that killing and robbing people was addictive. Why did humans constantly wage war? That was because stealing from others would always be easier than creating for themselves.
However, he quickly suppressed this thought, not because he was benevolent, but because he was worried. Once he did that, his murderous nature would rise up, and he would even kill the neighbouring dark-skinned man to steal all of his belongings.
He definitely possessed the strength. He did not even need to unleash his daemon qi to accomplish such a matter. All he needed to do was work with Xiao An. On one hand, other people possessed the items you wanted, while on the other hand, you possessed the strength to take it from them. Moreover, it would not come at any cost either. Just how many people would be able to suppress their greed?
Even with the suppression of the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression, his primitive instincts that were no different from that of daemons almost prompted him into taking action. However, acting based on his instincts was not the path he wanted. As he rapidly gained strength, he rapidly learned how to control this power so that he would not lose himself to it.
At the same time, he also realised something else. He realised just how terrifying people could become after obtaining great power. That was probably how Qian Yongming thought. He could easily kill Li Qingshan, and it would come at no cost at all, easily venting his anger just as naturally as eating or drinking.
The dangers of this cultivation path within the human world probably surpassed the Boundless mountains. Li Qingshan dismissed his random thoughts. If Qian Rongzhi did not try to provoke him, he would let her be, but if she tried, he would kill her as well. There was no need for him to expend any additional thought on it right now.
He wrapped up the bones on the ground with the clothes and arrived outside, about to toss them overboard and destroy all traces of this ever happening. However, he saw the neighbouring man’s face of disbelief as soon as he made his way out; the man was looking at the bones in his hands.
“What a coincidence!” Li Qingshan was slightly surprised, greeting him with a smile before going around the man and tossing the bundle into the pitch-black river. He was at so much ease that it did not seem like he was dumping remains, but admiring the night scenery. This had nothing to do with whether he was actually smarter than the ordinary person. Instead, it was composure that came with his confidence in his strength.
The man stiffened up. He clenched his fist before easing up again. As he looked at Li Qingshan, there was no more contempt at all anymore. Instead, his gaze was filled with caution and even a sliver of fear.
He had been waiting in a dark corner outside the entire time, ready to grasp the opportunity to launch a sneak attack. However, the person who emerged from the door was not Qian Rongming, but Li Qingshan who he thought of as dead. There was no need to ask who the pale-white bones belonged to. However, even if he launched a sneak attack against Qian Rongming, he would struggle to kill him in a single stroke. The person before him was not prey, but a Qi Practitioner countless times more vicious than a predator.
He was very tempted to ask Li Qingshan how he managed to do that, but he was unable to say anything as he looked at Li Qingshan’s smile. Even more terrifyingly, he still could not sense any presence of qi on Li Qingshan. It was just like how the unknown would always be the most terrifying.
After casting the remains overboard, Li Qingshan said to the man, “What’s your name?”
The dark-skinned man no longer looked down on him. He answered cautiously, “Diao Fei.” He felt that the current Li Qingshan was rather different from the one during the day. The teenager seemed to be hiding something terrifying on him, but of course, it might have been a false impression.
Li Qingshan said, “Are you going to Jiaping city to join the Hawkwolf Guard as well?”
“What a coincidence! Me too!”
Diao Fei’s heart tightened, ready to receive any attacks directed at him.
However, Li Qingshan clearly did not plan to take such actions. He continued to talk with him, “How many people are the Hawkwolf Guard recruiting this time?”
Diao Fei remained silent.
Originally, Li Qingshan wanted to get some more information from him, but he saw how Diao Fei was extremely cautious, so he shrugged and returned to his room.
Diao Fei suddenly asked, “Sir, may I ask for your name?” After arriving at Jiaping city, this teenager might end up becoming a powerful competitor.
As if he had heard this name somewhere, Diao Fei pondered it for a while, but he struggled to remember where he had heard it. He also returned to his room, but he did not catch a wink of sleep that night, remaining vigilant the entire time.
As soon as Li Qingshan returned to his room, he felt something and opened the window, looking out into the distance. All he saw was a figure leaping off the ship while the vessel was closer to the shore, landing on a sandy bank and quickly vanishing into the thicket. From the shape of her body, he could tell that she was Qian Rongzhi.
Li Qingshan could not help but sigh that the woman really was quite impressive with her thinking and resoluteness. She must have realised something was wrong when Qian Rongming did not return. She did not try to investigate the matter, nor did she question anything, directly leaping off the ship and fleeing.
Shaking his head, Li Qingshan tossed this matter to the side. He took out a bottle of Qi Gathering pills and opened it to take a look. There were only three pills in there ,and each one was the size of a longan. He took one out and ate it, beginning to cultivate.
As expected, with the assistance of the products of external alchemy, his rate of cultivation sped up slightly. The medicinal effects filled up his true qi, which circulated through his body. As he inhaled and exhaled, time passed rapidly, and very soon, he had absorbed a Qi Gathering pill. Li Qingshan took out another Qi Gathering pill and ingested it.
If other Qi Practitioners saw this, they would definitely be stunned. How could pills be eaten like candy? Although pills could drastically increase the rate of cultivation, that did not mean a person could easily become a master just because they possessed some pills and medicines. They all required talent, hard word, guidance, or even luck.
And, there was a limit to the pills that could be ingested. It was not as simple as eating as many as one could before turning it all into energy. Otherwise, all actual alchemists would be supreme masters. The nine Qi Gathering pills from Qian Rongming were originally a quantity to be consumed over three months. He would eat a pill every ten days and slowly refine its effects.
And, this was for Qian Rongming, someone who was favoured by the clan and could consume pills relatively faster. The usual speed was a pill every half a month to ensure that none of its effects would go to waste. No one ate them like Li Qingshan.
This was all because it was impossible for a mere Qi Gathering pill to remain in Li Qingshan’s body for ten days. He had to convert it into true qi desperately. If he were any later, it would be stolen by the daemon core and forcefully converted into daemon qi. As such, it was guaranteed that not a single bit of it would go to waste.
Li Qingshan was obviously unaware of this. He even felt pleased that it really would be faster when consuming pills while cultivating. When he ate the seventh Qi Gathering pill, he successfully reached the second layer with the Innate Method of Practising Qi. Due to the sumeru ring refining his true qi, he did not come across any bottlenecks at all.
He stood up and sensed the extremely pure true qi raging through his body. His entire body seemed to become much lighter.
He stowed the last two Qi Gathering pills away. He could hear with great clarity that a clamour was ringing out from the distance. The ship also became noisy. He could vaguely hear many people say, “We’ve reached Jiaping city!”
Li Qingshan made his way out in a hurry to take a look. The lower deck was already filled with people. On the other hand, the river itself had come across a great mountain that it looped around.
After making it around the bend, a grand city sat between the mountains and the waters, unfolding before Li Qingshan’s eyes. More accurately, it could not be called a city, as it was not walled at all. It seemed more like a modern metropolis.
This was where two great rivers met, where the Yi river merged into the Clear river. Jiaping city was developed on the banks of the two rivers. Rows upon rows of houses, buildings, towers, temples—both daoist and buddhist—sprawled out in all directions, followed by boundless, golden fields. Large flocks of birds flew freely in the blue sky above the city.
Li Qingshan had never seen any ancient cities before, but he believed that this city was even grander and more bustling than the places renowned throughout history for their prosperity, like Hangzhou or Yangzhou. The absence of city walls demonstrated the absolute confidence of the ruler here. They did not need to rely on an earthen wall to protect themselves.
Only small cities like Qingyang required the existence of walls to protect themselves from the attacks of bandits and the like. There was not a single truly large city with city walls. This was a city that Qi Practitioners ruled, so if there really were enemies that could threaten the city, they would not be people that a stone wall could stop. It would instead affect the city’s development.
Li Qingshan finally understood why Ye Dachuan had been overjoyed when he was transferred here as a vice district magistrate. Even if he was just a junior scribe here, he would be much better off than remaining in Qingyang city. So, just how prosperous would the Clear River city that ruled over the entire Clear River prefecture be? He was unable to imagine what the commandery city of Ruyi would be like.
Everything before him made him understand that this was not simply a world of the ancient times. The existence of Qi Practitioners heavily affected everything in this world, making it seem like a legend, adding a layer of wonder to it all.
The ship stopped at the dock, and Li Qingshan disembarked with the crowd. Originally, he wanted to ask Diao Fei or someone else where the Hawkwolf Guard was located, but only after arriving did he understand that such a question was unnecessary.