Chapter 130 – The Art of Controlling Artifacts
Li Qingshan obviously understood the strength of sixth layer Qi Practitioners. Splitting open a sea of qi and condensing a daemon core went hand in hand. He knew exactly how much his strength had grown after condensing a daemon core. It was basically a change in quality.
However, he would never complain if it meant he could get more information on his opponent. He also wanted to know just what humans used against daemons in battle. A fifth layer Qi Practitioner like Zhao Liangqing was nowhere near enough, so he asked with an open mind, “Please enlighten me, sir!”
Zhou Wenbin said, “The strength of humans does not lie with themselves. Whether it’s true qi or their physical strength, there’s no way they can contend with regular daemons. You should be aware of that.”
Li Qingshan nodded. “The strength of humans lies in their use of tools.” He could recall the classes of his previous life very well, how his teacher had said that the greatest difference between humans and animals was the invention and usage of tools. Even in this world of cultivation, this aspect remained the same.
Zhou Wenbin’s eyes lit up. “Well said. But have you realised the importance of tools right now? For example, the Wind-entwining blade on your waist. What kind of strength increase do you think it provides to you?”
Li Qingshan rubbed his Wind-entwining blade instinctively before shaking his head. The Wind-entwining blade was not a bad weapon, but it was not essential to the current him. It did not increase his strength in any qualitative fashion.
Zhou Wenbin said, “That’s because you’ve yet to learn how to properly use the tool. The blade right now is just like the teeth and claws to a beast. You can only use it based on your instincts. The blade and sword-wielding people of the jianghu are actually just slightly stronger wild beasts.”
Li Qingshan leaned forward and picked up the teapot, filling up Zhou Wenbin’s cup. “Then may I ask what is the proper way to use a tool?”
“Like this!” Zhou Wenbin’s eyes shone, and there was a powerful flash from within his wide sleeves. It swam past him with lightning speed, sometimes down low and sometimes high in the sky, producing an unending streak of light.
Under the afternoon sun, the blade of the sword reflected the sunlight, flickering across the two of them.
The streak of light rushed into the sky, piercing through the green willow branches. Willow leaves fell down like rain. However, before the ‘rain’ had even hit the ground, the sword flashed again and skewered over a hundred leaves before slamming against the tree bark.
Zhou Wenbin extended his hand, and the streak of light moved again, sweeping across the calm surface of the water and cutting it open like an extremely sharp pair of scissors. Suddenly, the sword vanished. It pierced through the reeds on the side of the pond before returning to Zhou Wenbin’s sleeve.
Li Qingshan was dazzled by all of this. If he did not daemonify, there was no way he could deal with a sword like that. He had witnessed the terror of being hunted down by a flying sword in the ancestral hall of the Dragon’s Gate sect in the past, but no one was controlling that flying sword, so all it did was charge straight ahead rashly. As a result, his understanding of the terrors of flying swords were not deep enough.
Only now did he understand that he basically had no chance to forcefully take on a real flying sword, as without the restrictions of the human body, the agility of the flying sword had exceeded the great techniques of any supreme swordsmen.
It was possible to imagine that if you failed to knock away the lightning-fast flying sword in a single strike when you fought against it, the flying sword would be able to move around like a snake, worming into your heart. You might not even be able to reach your opponent. You would not even be able to throw your life at the enemy.
This was the case unless you could deal with the sharpness of the flying sword and surpass its speed, but just how many people could achieve such a feat? This was the proper way to use a tool, the thing that humans relied on to overwhelm daemons.
He had basically seen this method of using tools in the hands of the Soaring Dragon Elder of the Sword Collection palace before. There was obviously a huge difference between Zhou Wenbin and the Soaring Dragon Elder’s swords, but due to the drastic disparity in strength back then, all of it seemed to flash past him like rain in a storm, as flickers of light possessing devastating power.
Back then, this indomitable, terrifying power had overwhelmed his mind, and he actually failed to comprehend its wonders and horrors. He had not been as shocked as right now. Another reason for his shock was that he realised that he himself would be able to use a tool like that as well.
Zhou Wenbin said, “Calling them tools is a relatively more common name, but more accurately, this should be called ‘controlling artifacts’. Sword artifacts are relatively common spiritual artifacts. There are a myriad of other spiritual artifacts in the world, which can be used to kill, defend, or bewitch. Anyway, there are a myriad of ways to use them as well. As long as your true qi is sufficiently strong enough, there’s no need for you to be restricted to your arms and legs. You can use many spiritual artifacts at the same time, and killing people will become as easy as winking.”
“However, all of this requires you to open your four yin and yang meridians, reaching a balance in yin and yang. Subsequently, you need to open your Girdle meridian and split open a sea of yin and yang qi. Only then can you achieve this. As a matter of fact, there’s even a saying that only Qi Practitioners who have split open a sea of qi can be regarded as real Qi Practitioners, embarking on the path of cultivation. In short, it’s extremely easy for a sixth layer Qi Practitioner to kill a fifth layer Qi Practitioner.”
What he was trying to say was, It goes even more without saying what would happen if a mere first layer Qi Practitioner like you were matched up against a sixth layer Qi Practitioner. Even if you have some achievements as a Body Practitioner, it’s impossible for you to be Zhuo Zhibo’s opponent.
Li Qingshan was convinced from the bottom of his heart. “I see. Thank you for your guidance, sir. However, I haven’t chosen to remain here because I’m unaware of the dangers I’m in.”
The two of them stared at each other silently. One was determined, while the other one was in doubt.
Zhou Wenbin said, “Since you insist on staying, I won’t say anything more. If you need any help, you are welcome to come to the government office to come find me. However, at the end of the day, you are still under Zhuo Zhibo’s command. It’s impossible for me to fall out with Zhuo Zhibo over you, so do take care.”
Li Qingshan smiled. “That only makes sense.”
Li Qingshan’s relaxed, casual attitude even made Zhou Wenbin doubt himself. Does this kid really have a powerful background?
“There is a matter that I’d like to ask you about, sir. Where can I learn the art of controlling artifacts?” Li Qingshan was highly intrigued after witnessing Zhou Wenbin’s display. He immediately thought of the small, hiltless sword he found in Zhao Liangqing’s hundred treasures pouch the night before. As it seemed, Zhao Liangqing had prepared it for when he broke through to the sixth layer, but now that it had fallen into his hands, he wanted to make full use of it.
Zhou Wenbin gazed at him deeply. “Do you really think the sixth layer of Qi Practitioner is that easy to break through to?”
Li Qingshan said, “I’ll try my best and see.” His gaze was filled with great confidence. At least from the aspect of a daemon, he had already reached that level.
Zhou Wenbin did not comment on that. All he said was, “There are many people in the cultivation world who know regular arts for controlling artifacts. It’s nothing for me to teach you beforehand.”
Li Qingshan asked curiously, “They are non-regular arts for controlling artifacts?”
Zhou Wenbin said, “The Sword Collection sect has special arts for controlling swords. It’s not artifacts, but swords. The Umbral Yin sect has ghost control arts, using ghosts as their artifacts. Some demonic path cultivators refine and pilot corpses, thus using corpses as artifacts. There is not a single sect’s artifact control art that is completely original, but it’s impossible for me to know them all either.”
The Umbral Yin sect! Ghost control arts! Li Qingshan’s heart skipped a beat. He thought about the page he had obtained from the witch. Wasn’t that the Umbral Yin Ghost Control technique? There must have been a connection between the two. If he understood the origins of the witch, he might be able to find out about Xiao An’s origins. He asked in a hurry, “Where’s the Umbral Yin sect?”
To the cultivators of the Green province, this was essential knowledge. Zhou Wenbin casually explained it. He failed to notice the change in Li Qingshan’s expression.
Li Qingshan memorised eight words, ‘Down south, the Myriad Ghosts abyss’. This was the first time he had heard anything about this colossal sect of the Green province, but since Zhou Wenbin did not go into detail, he did not ask any further either.
His strength was still insufficient. He could not go to somewhere so far away. Xiao An had yet to remember much, and he had not recovered his body yet… Under these countless reasons hid a selfish excuse. He did not want Xiao An to leave his side! He did not want to be lonely!
It was rather funny now that it was mentioned, but a tough guy like him, a daemon who could stand over twenty feet tall and crush people like ants, was no different from an ordinary person inside. He was afraid of loneliness.
As a result, for the first time, he was no longer as determined as before when an opportunity to investigate Xiao An’s origins presented itself.
The sunlight was cut to pieces by the blade-like willow leaves, scattering all over the teenager. He was not particularly handsome, but there was a rare sliver of uncertainty on his bronze, sculpted face. However, it turned into determination immediately, determination to uphold his promise and let nature take its course.
Zhou Wenbin patiently explained the method of controlling artifacts. As expected, the principle behind it was not complicated, but it had a strict requirement on cultivation. While Qi Practitioners could not easily connect with the spiritual qi of the world after splitting open a sea of qi, they were moving in that direction, allowing them to sense various objects with a spiritual nature.
Of course, all living things were spiritual nature, including every blade of grass or flower. However, with greater spiritual qi came stronger senses. While they could not control plants to harm their opponents, Qi Practitioners could pick a spiritual artifact and soak it in their own true qi constantly. Eventually, they would establish a slight sensory connection with the spiritual qi, allowing them to control it from afar. It was like controlling a piece of metal while using their own bodies as a magnet.
Li Qingshan expressed his gratitude. It was exactly these pieces of common knowledge that would instead bring him even greater help, as public knowledge to Qi Practitioners was an essential foundation. He had come from the country, without a master or a sect, so he had no chance to learn about such matters at all.
Zhou Wenbin smiled as he stroked his beard. “So you only plan on expressing your gratitude verbally?”
Li Qingshan was surprised. Did he plan on accepting backhanders?
Zhou Wenbin hinted, “You must have had quite the harvest last night, such as silver?” Li Qingshan had taken the procuress’ hundred treasures bag, which obviously did not escape his eyes.
Li Qingshan was taken aback. “You’re the mighty district magistrate, a sixth layer Qi Practitioner who rules over several hundred thousand people, yet you’re asking money from a broke kid like me?”
Zhou Wenbin said, “Must you speak so loudly? It’s not like I’m asking it for free. It’s exactly because I rule over too many people that there are far too many areas that require money. You have no use for silver anyway, so you might as well give it to me. I’ll exchange it for Qi Gathering pills.”
Li Qingshan was surprised. “Why’s that?” He would be more than willing to exchange silver for Qi Gathering pills. Unless he actually planned on buying women, he really had no use for the silver.
Zhou Wenbin was a sixth layer Qi Practitioner, but he actually required silver?