Chapter 126 – Encompassing Vows and Obsessions
First of all, cultivation methods were not split into detailed grades like spiritual artifacts or talismans, but their grades were instead more clear-cut than spiritual artifacts and talismans. The limit on cultivation determined the grade of the cultivation method.
For example, the Innate Method of Practising Qi that Li Qingshan practised would only amount to a third layer Qi Practitioner if he reached the ninth layer, which only illustrated that the cultivation method was not very great. It was basically the lowest, more rudimentary cultivation method in the cultivation method. He would have to find a new cultivation method to practise in the future.
There were many great cultivation methods that could directly allow Qi Practitioners to cultivate to the ninth layer, or even undergo the first heavenly tribulation, reaching the legendary Foundation Establishment realm. The books he read were ambiguous over whether there were even greater cultivation methods than that. All they said was that they definitely did exist, but they went into no reason as to exactly why. Clearly, the writer’s knowledge was limited in this area.
However, they did indeed exist. The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was one of them. As for the very limit of the cultivation, the black ox had told Li Qingshan since the very beginning. It was bodhisattva.
By bodhisattva, he meant attaining bodhicitta and swearing four encompassing vows1—the boundless creatures, I vow to save; the endless afflictions, I vow to break; the limitless dharma, I vow to learn; the unsurpassable buddha way, I vow to accomplish. Finally, they would attain the fruit of bodhisattva.
That was how the buddhist scriptures put it. Xiao An had read about it on the ship, and he had written them in Li Qingshan’s palm, word by word. The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty also had four encompassing vows:
The boundless creatures, I vow to slaughter; the endless afflictions, I vow to fell; the limitless dharma, I vow to destroy; the unsurpassable buddha way, I vow to end.
When Xiao An wrote these two sets of polar-opposite vows in Li Qingshan’s palm, he was expressionless, which was as clear as day, but Li Qingshan could feel that he was particularly solemn.
It had to be mentioned that Li Qingshan was unable to properly understand these two sets of vows. Of course, he refused to admit that he was illiterate. He only felt that this eminent buddhist monk must have experienced a tremendous stimulus for them to undergo such a drastic mental change.
After considering it, Li Qingshan found a more direct way of putting it—it was badass. As for just how badass it was, he had no idea! Perhaps no one in this world knew how badass it was!
Even in this world, a world with various great cultivators capable of moving mountains and filling seas, bodhisattvas could remain seated on their lotus platform, looking over all living creatures with a gaze of benevolence or indifference.
Cultivators were only bold enough to call themselves cultivators, but not immortals or buddhas. Those were not figures that existed in this world. Perhaps he would only see them once he ventured to that place beyond the Nine Heavens that the black ox spoke of. In Li Qingshan’s belief, they were even more powerful cultivators, so powerful that he could not even look up to them anymore.
The conclusion he reached was very simple. Just what level was an ability where the practitioner cultivated to become a bodhisattva? It was self-explanatory. If this made it out, it would not be as simple as purging demons. Instead, it would bring a storm to the nine provinces of the world.
Against cultivators of the same cultivation who practised weaker cultivation methods, Xiao An basically had a crushing advantage as he practised an ability as great as the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. Moreover, Xiao An had only practised it for a few months and had basically just gained a rudimentary grasp. He had not even reached the first layer. As his cultivation progressed, this advantage would gradually widen and become even more evident.
These were Li Qingshan’s thoughts. Usually, Xiao An would just look at him from the side silently and be very satisfied. He did not think as much. All he wanted to do was remain by his side. He only desired a body of flesh so that he could remain by Li Qingshan’s side in a more open manner. He only wanted to become stronger to offer greater assistance to him and not serve as a deadweight.
With his extraordinary intelligence, he could comprehend the great horrors within the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty far more deeply than Li Qingshan. He could feel just what kind of great despair this eminent monk went through to create an ability like this, willingly casting themself into the hell of Avīci, using white bone to assemble a lotus platform, feeding off blood and flesh, deriving joy from despair, so much so that they felt like they had made it to paradise.
But for the sake of this objective, he would be more than willing to do anything, even if it meant slaughtering the boundless creatures, felling the endless afflictions, destroying the limitless dharma, and ending the unsurpassable buddha way.
Li Qingshan pulled out a hundred treasures pouch that was bright in colour from his bosom. He smiled. “Look at what this is?”
Where had he gotten the hundred treasures pouch from? He had obviously found it on the procuress. If he killed, how could he forget to rob? Having a strong sense of justice and assisting the weak went hand in hand with robbing the rich to give to the needy. He robbed the procuress to make up for his own neediness. Unfortunately, Furong did not have a hundred treasures pouch, or there would be another hundred treasures pouch in his hands. However, he could not be too greedy as a person after all.
“How is it? I said I’d do it, and I did it!”
The blood-red flames in Xiao An’s eye sockets flickered happily.
Li Qingshan said, “Let’s have a look at our harvest this time.” He channeled spiritual qi into the hundred treasures pouch, and a new space opened up ‘before’ him. It was around the same size as his current one.
There were quite a few items in there. He swept past the miscellaneous items like cosmetics, clothes, and handkerchiefs. The only items that he paid attention to were pills, talismans, spiritual artifacts, and cultivation methods, items that were directly related to cultivation.
However, there were no talismans or spiritual artifacts in the hundred treasures pouch. Clearly, she had been a procuress for all these years, so she had stopped fighting a long time ago, which was why she was unprepared.
There were a few bottles of pills, but two of them seemed to be aphrodisiacs called the Pills of Passion. Li Qingshan had a whiff of the bottle, and he felt his crotch warm up. He had no idea what kind of materials it was made from to be so effective against Qi Practitioners.
There were two other bottles that happened to be the exact opposite; they were called Pills of Calming. He whiffed it, and his mind cleared up, but the flame in his crotch remained. His desires roared like fire, while his mind was as tranquil as water.
There was a cultivation method in there called the Minor Method of Clouds and Rain, which Li Qingshan looked through. Upon completion, it could be cultivated to the sixth layer of Qi Practitioner, allowing the cultivator to split open a sea of qi. It was much better than the Innate Method of Practising Qi. Unfortunately, it was a dual cultivation method. It had to be cultivated while man and woman went at it, treating the partner as a human cauldron. The Pills of Passion and Pills of Calming were for this; the cauldron would consume the Pills of Passion and freely releasing yin and yang qi, while the practitioner would consume the Pills of Calming, allowing them to harmonise their yin and yang, thus practising the Minor Method of Clouds and Rain.
It was no wonder that the Sect of Clouds and Rain would open so many brothels on such a large scale. It was so that they could find human cauldrons under a legitimate reason. Money was secondary. Practising qi was their primary focus. Otherwise, they would have been destroyed by the Hawkwolf Guard a long time ago with their behaviour of sexual debauchery.
It would obviously be impossible for Li Qingshan to practise such a troublesome cultivation method. Although the Innate Method of Practising Qi was quite an inferior cultivation method, it was easy to practise and a fantastic cultivation method for building a foundation. Unless they were prodigies of startling talent, basically everyone would start off with this cultivation method.
He tossed all of that aside, and in the end, he found two bottles of Qi Gathering pills. As it seemed, regardless of the sect that a Qi Practitioner came from, they would still have the basic pills. Although there were just around a dozen or so pills, it was enough to console him. As a result, the number of Qi Gathering pills on him exceeded seventy. He was rather wealthy now.
The other item that drew Li Qingshan’s attention slightly was a stack of unassuming accounts. It utterly confused him when he went through it, so he decided to hand it over to Zhou Wenbin tomorrow for him to take a look.
After all of that was money, a lot of money. Li Qingshan had never seen so much money in his entire life; the sum totalled to several hundreds of thousand taels of silver. Although they were all in the form of thousand tael silver notes, it still formed a thick stack. Although money was the Parlour of Clouds and Rain’s secondary purpose, they were as vicious as directly stealing money from their customers when it came to making money. Moreover, there was no place safer to store it for the procuress than her own hundred treasures pouch, so it was easy pickings for Li Qingshan.
If the Li Qingshan from before had obtained so much silver, he basically would have gone crazy from happiness. Just how much meat and ginseng could he buy? But now, he led an extravagant life, and his pills completely exceeded the effects of ginseng, so he actually had no aspect that required spending money anymore.
However, if he really did want to practise the Minor Method of Clouds and Rain, he should have been able to buy quite a few women with several hundred thousand taels of silver, right? He had a perverted daydream before stowing away all of the silver and Qi Gathering pills in his own hundred treasures pouch.
He handed the new hundred treasures pouch to Xiao An. “I said I’ll do it. This is for you.”
Xiao An placed his wooden tablet into his new hundred treasures pouch, returning the old one to Li Qingshan. He played around with the items inside in great joy. Only then did he seem particularly like a child.
Li Qingshan looked at him and smiled. He felt his tense nerves gradually ease up. He felt the peace that came with family. No matter what, he was not alone.
A Qi Gathering pill was tossed high up in the air, landing in Li Qingshan’s mouth. He began to meditate and cultivate again.
Currently, Zhuo Zhibo did his best to suppress his fury. “Fucking Li Qingshan! He actually played me like that…” Ge Jian and Qian Rongzhi were utterly silent out of fear, afraid of answering him.
“Commander, why don’t we just go all the way with him?” A Black Wolf guard made a gesture to kill, while the Black Wolf guards by his side were all aggressive. They were Zhuo Zhibo’s trusted subordinates, so they obviously had to share their master’s burden. In their eyes, no matter how powerful Li Qingshan was with his body practising arts, only death would await him if he was encircled by five third or fourth layer Qi Practitioners.
“If I could kill him, I would have personally killed him already!” Zhuo Zhibo held back his fury. “I’ve already sent people to investigate in Clear River city. We will get an answer before long. Let’s just wait till then. Right now, none of you touch him. Ge Jian, don’t go find him anymore. I will send other people to do that. Rongzhi, you’re all newcomers, so you’ll spend more time together. You must keep investigating whether he’s telling lies.”
Ge Jian was relieved, but Qian Rongzhi’s expression changed slightly. Despite her viciousness, Li Qingshan’s viciousness tonight had frightened her.
Ge Jian added in worry, “If we really do end up moving against him, Zhou Wenbin seems to favour this kid very much. And, regarding the vice commander…”
Zhuo Zhibo said, “If we really do move against him, no one will be able to save him in Jiaping city.”
Li Qingshan had no idea about these schemes in the shadows. Even if he did know, he would not have cared anyway. He was popping Qi Gathering pills like candy, increasing his own strength. As long as he became tough enough, he would finish off the damned Zhao Liangzhi first before dealing with the damned Zhuo Zhibo.
In just two hours, three Qi Gathering pills had already slid down his gullet, turning into true qi and daemon qi sliver by sliver. Although he could rely on the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression to not become mentally exhausted, his ability of absorbing Qi Gathering pills did not surpass other Qi Practitioners by too much either.