Chapter 129 – The Daughter of the Hawk God
With the arrival of the morning, a thick layer of mist shrouded the mountain. Opening his window and looking down, he saw Jiaping city swallowed by a sea of mist. Only the few, larger structures like the Parlour of Clouds and Rain were like islands in the sea, floating in the sea of mist.
No one had noticed what had happened last night aside from Li Qingshan. He lowered his head and looked at his right hand; it was a coarse hand covered in calluses. The markings of all those years of labour had not simply faded away with cultivation. It was also that very hand that had crushed an enemy to death the night before. The feeling of causing someone to burst remained clearly embedded in his palm and memory.
Ordinary people would probably sigh that their hands were covered in blood and become melancholic. However, he felt very wonderful and delighted. It was not due to the influence of his demonic nature that had made him cold-hearted. He could shed tears for Xiao An, and he could sob for Xuanyue, but scum like Zhao Liangqing was not even worth a sigh of his.
You could refuse to accept the darkness within you and keep acting like you were still a normal human, or you could accept it calmly and find some more scum like that, enjoying the pleasure that came with crushing them to a pulp.
Li Qingshan chose the latter without any hesitation at all. Just like how he had said since the beginning, why should he repress his interests? Aren’t there a lot of people worth killing in the world?
On their first day of joining the Hawkwolf Guard, newcomers were usually given the day to rest and grow accustomed to the new environment. The true training of the Hawkwolf Guard would begin today under the guidance of a senior.
Originally, that person should have been Ge Jian, but instead it was the ‘bulbous nose’ that had gambled on Li Qingshan. He slapped Li Qingshan’s shoulder with a smile. “Kid, you were really impressive last night. If it were me, I would have never been bold enough to do that.”
Just from that, Li Qingshan understood that this person was probably not a trusted subordinate of Zhuo Zhibo. Speaking of which, even if Zhuo Zhibo wanted to take a trusted subordinate, he would have never taken someone so inappropriate.
Diao Fei and Qian Rongzhi sat beside Li Qingshan. They both had their own thoughts as they remained silent.
‘Bulbous nose’ cleared his throat and began the first lesson of the Hawkwolf Guard, the history of the Hawkwolf Guard.
Li Qingshan listened with complete focus. This was the first time he had understood where he was in so much detail. He was shocked by the grand tale from the lengthy history. He murmured, “The Great Xia empire?”
Just how would an empire founded by a cultivator be? To his even greater surprise, the commander of one of the government systems with the highest authority was actually a daemon. This was simply unbelievable!
However, he could understand what the founding emperor was thinking. His wives could fight among each other for his favour, while his children could kill one another for the throne. Even loyal officials and valiant generals could fall out with one another over their beliefs. The minds of humans were far too complicated. Only the loyalty of daemons would remain unwavering.
Although Li Qingshan refused to admit that Xiao An was his pet, he was unable to find a better description for their current situation. The reason why he could trust him so much was exactly because of his simple-mindedness, as well as his complete dependence on him.
‘Bulbous nose’ was akin to the most impressive storyteller as spittle flew out of his mouth like a river. He narrated this part of history in a magnificent manner, but when he reached there, he suddenly stopped. He looked at Li Qingshan while smiling. “Speaking of the highest commander of our Hawkwolf Guard, sir Guardian Hawk God, I must mention his daughter…”
Submerged in his thoughts, Li Qingshan suddenly raised his head. All he heard was bulbous nose slowly mention a name. “Gu Yanying!”
Li Qingshan closed his eyes slowly and sank into his thoughts again. The graceful figure in white appeared in his head again. When Yan Song mentioned Gu Yanying, he had said she possessed an extraordinary background, but Li Qingshan had never thought it would reach such a level.
‘Bulbous nose’ continued, “Of course, you can’t tell others about this. While this is a public secret within the Hawkwolf Guard, it’s also taboo. The White Wolf commander has specially put this in writing that he would watch anyone who blabbers chew their own tongues out. You better not think this is just an empty threat. It’s basically the greatest rule among us Hawkwolf guards of the Ruyi commandery. Just treat it like you never heard about it. It’s not like you’ll manage to establish any connections with such a great figure in your lives anyway.” As he said that, he glanced at Li Qingshan again.
Li Qingshan did not reply. After his slight shock, he recovered his composure. The target that the black ox had given him was far too distant. As such, his vision had never stopped in just this world from the beginning.
When your final objective was to fly in the sky, other people could tell you about just how tall Mount Everest was and how difficult it was to scale. You could agree, but you would not feel too much pressure. As a matter of fact, you might even feel that it was a much easier target.
Whether he could establish a connection with her would depend on fate, but if he could, he definitely would. He was not afraid of being labelled as lecherous by others, as he admitted he was lecherous. He also liked drinking, liked eating, liked crushing enemies to a pulp, and liked good pills and spiritual artifacts.
Passing through the busy streets, Li Qingshan arrived before the government office. At the entrance were a pair of huge, stone lions. Li Qingshan could tell that they were not just to scare away regular citizens and demonstrate the might of the government. Instead, the spiritual qi they emitted told him that the pair of stone lions would immediately come alive as soon as someone had intruded upon the place, tearing the intruder to shreds.
Compared to them, the two guards seemed more symbolic than anything else. When they saw Li Qingshan’s Black Wolf uniform, neither of them tried to stop him. After hearing him state his name, the guard immediately took him in.
The government office was busy. Various people hurried around under the orders of guards. It was as if they all had their own matters to attend to, not just to prove their innocence or to sue.
Zhou Wenbin received Li Qingshan in the garden behind the offices. Under the brilliant sun, the green-clothed Zhou Wenbin sat on a cushion under a large willow tree by a pond as he admired the scenery. He did not seem like a district magistrate, but more like a hermit. He was at great leisure, forming quite the contrast with the busyness in the government office.
Li Qingshan clasped his hands. “How elegant of you, sir!”
Zhou Wenbin waved his hand, and another cushion fell down before him, along with an exquisite tea set.
Li Qingshan sat down gracefully. Zhou Wenbin waved his hand, and steam rose up from the pond as if it were gathering in his palm, turning into water and landing in the teapot. Afterwards, it produced hot steam, and the fragrance of tea permeated the surroundings. He filled two tea cups.
Only then did Zhou Wenbin say leisurely, “We cultivator’s shouldn’t be held up by too many everyday affairs!”
Li Qingshan said in surprise, “Then why do you still hold the position of district magistrate, sir? Why not settle down in a beautiful land and properly focus on cultivation?”
“Now that’s something you don’t know about. This is one of the cultivation methods of the school of Confucianism, gathering the power of belief, which can also be used for cultivation. That’s why I’m the district magistrate of Jiaping city.”
Zhou Wenbin said patiently. Only then did Li Qingshan find out about a cultivation method like this, and it was an extremely effective cultivation method as well that did not require too much effort. The proteges and aides under Zhou Wenbin would handle the various government affairs for him, while he normally only needed to remain in the back courtyard, drinking tea and admiring the flowers. The paths of cultivation truly did vary.
Li Qingshan cut to the chase. “May I ask why you’ve summoned me here?”
Zhou Wenbin said, “Are you aware that you’re living on borrowed time?”
Li Qingshan said, “I’m really not aware of that.”
Zhou Wenbin said, “You’ve deeply offended Zhuo Zhibo. He’s extremely cowardly, which is why he chose to put up with all of it. But don’t we both know that you don’t have any kind of backing like that at all? Old Wang in Clear River city should dislike you very much. Zhuo Zhibo will realise that sooner or later.”
Li Qingshan was unfazed. “Then what do you suggest, sir? Am I supposed to transfer to under sir?”
Zhou Wenbin replied, “I sure would like a subordinate like you. I’ve heard about what you’ve done in the Qingyang district, but you’ve directly increased the number of vice magistrates under me. It’ll even cost me a bit to pay and feed him.”
Only now did Li Qingshan think of the brother-in-law of the prefect, Ye Dachuan. Calculating the time, he should have arrived today.
“However, since you’ve joined the Hawkwolf Guard, you can’t just get away from this entire matter so easily anymore.”
Li Qingshan said, “My only option is to flee?”
Zhou Wenbin shook his head. “The crime of deserting or betraying the Hawkwolf Guard would be even greater than that. It’s enough to put you on the criminal list. Despite how vast the world is, just where can you go? Are you really supposed to flee into the mountains and forests and dwell with those daemons?”
Li Qingshan considered it; this was not necessarily a difficult matter to deal with.
Zhou Wenbin said, “If you want to avoid Zhuo Zhibo, there’s only one place you can go now.”
Li Qingshan asked, “Where?”
“The Academy of the Hundred Schools!”
“Where’s the Academy of the Hundred Schools?”
“Obviously in Clear River city.”
“What kind of place is the Academy of the Hundred Schools?”
“It’s a place where ordinary people cultivate, as well as the foundation of the Great Xia empire. As the district magistrate, not only do I watch over this region, but I also have the responsibility of choosing talents for the empire. I can recommend talented Qi Practitioners to study in the Academy of the Hundred Schools. Even your duties as a Hawkwolf guard will be temporarily set aside. Obviously, you wouldn’t need to worry about Zhuo Zhibo anymore. I’ll be honest with you, I came from the Academy of the Hundred Thoughts. That place is much more beneficial to your cultivation than being a Hawkwolf guard.”
Li Qingshan said, “May I ask why you are favouring me so much, sir?”
Zhou Wenbin said, “Your talent is so-so, but I like your disposition very much. I don’t wish to see you get destroyed in the hands of a crafty ruffian. There will be a day when you return to the Hawkwolf Guard, so I wouldn’t mind you coming to Jiaping city, and we can keep working together.”
Some people might detest your disposition, but there would obviously be others who liked your disposition. With ill will came goodwill. Such a matter was very fair.
Li Qingshan considered it for a while before answering, “Thank you for your kind offer, sir. There will be a day when I go there and check it out, but it’s not right now. I still have things I want to do in Jiaping city.”
He speculated that the Academy of the Hundred Schools was a place like a school. It was a school for Qi Practitioners to raise talents for the Great Xia empire so that they could overwhelm the talents of other sects. However, since it was a school, it would definitely come with school fees, and moving about would become inconvenient. At the very least, he could not go on a killing spree under the name of justice.
He needed flesh and blood to assist Xiao An’s reconstruction of his body, and he also needed to obtain even more Qi Gathering pills from these missions. These two matters supplemented one another, and Jiaping city was highly suitable for him to complete both. Most importantly, he was not afraid of Zhuo Zhibo, not even a bit.
Zhou Wenbin frowned. “It seems like you don’t understand the strength of sixth layer Qi Practitioners.”