Chapter 135 – A Thousand Qi Gathering Pills
If Zhuo Zhibo was plotting to murder him and wanted to send Li Qingshan to a dangerous place, he would not have been so surprised.
However, it was clearly written in crimson ink on the top of the document—the Qian family of Ancient Wind city!
Diao Fei and Li Qingshan looked at Qian Rongzhi at the same time. Qian Rongzhi was not surprised at all. She continued to smile like before.
Zhuo Zhibo said, “You don’t need to wonder anymore. Rongzhi has placed the greater good over her family. She has reported the various misdeeds and crimes that the Qian family have committed against the law of Great Xia. All of it is written there.”
Diao Fei also looked at the document in Li Qingshan’s hand, which listed the many crimes of the Qian family. Some tenant farmers had caused trouble because the rent for the farm was too high, so the Qian family killed off all their families overnight. A woman caught the eye of Qian Yannian on the streets. He knew that she was already married, so after the family rejected his demands for her, he directly ordered the execution of the husband and her abduction, forcing her into becoming a concubine of his. As a matter of fact, a district magistrate had even been killed because he refused to serve as a puppet. Several dozen crimes were listed in a neat manner. All of them were horrible crimes punishable with death.
Diao Fei came from a sect, so he had never had so many people around him all the time. Although the sect also resided in the darkness, its deeds were never so disgusting. He could not help but ask, “Is this true?”
However, Li Qingshan did not doubt the veracity of these crimes. The Qian family dominated Ancient Wind city. There were no organisations that could keep them at bay. With absolute power came absolute corruption, so it would not be strange no matter what they did. He just found it strange that Qian Rongzhi would do this.
He mumbled, “Putting the greater good over family?” Was Qian Rongzhi trying to lure him to the territory of the Qian family, and then plot to kill him? That would be the most logical conclusion. However, doing so would drag her own family into trouble. Just what was Qian Rongzhi planning? Could there be any fate apart from destruction awaiting the Qian family after making it onto the list of the Hawkwolf Guard?
Li Qingshan continued to look through the document. Below listed the cultivation of the various people of the Qian family. The first on the list was the patriarch of the Qian family, Qian Yannian. He was a fifth layer Qi Practitioner. There were no fourth layer Qi Practitioners, but there were two at the third layer, five at the second layer, and thirteen at the first layer.
Li Qingshan raised his head. “Commander Zhuo, isn’t this a little too difficult for our first trial mission?” At the very least, he could tell from the surface that the three of them were not a force that could shake up the Qian family.
“Really?” Zhuo Zhibo looked at Li Qingshan as if he wanted to see any traces related to Zhao Liangqing’s death from his face. However, the result only disappointed him. “We can’t just listen to everything we hear. As a result, the mission this time is not to kill, but to investigate. If Rongzhi was right, then report back, and I will personally clean them up. Qian Yannian’s birthday is in a few days’ time. You will be going under the guise of attending the birthday, and with Rongzhi coordinating with you from the outside, this cannot be any simpler.”
Li Qingshan said, “I’m just worried it won’t be that simple.”
Zhuo Zhibo continued to chuckle. “All of the missions from the Hawkwolf Guard have their risks. However, with greater risks comes greater rewards. Why don’t you have a look at the second page?”
Li Qingshan turned to the second page of the document. It was actually an analysis of property, detailing the expected pills, spiritual artifacts, and various other benefits that would come from destroying the Qian family. In particular, there was a special note that the benefits might become even greater after the birthday. It was impossible for them to learn so much detail if they did not have someone from the Qian family on their side.
Zhuo Zhibo explained patiently, “If you find out that it’s all true, I obviously do hope that you could directly settle this matter. It’ll save me some trouble. Although Qian Yannian is a fifth layer Qi Practitioner, he is already extremely advanced in age, so he’s nowhere close to his prime. According to the rules, everything you gain from a mission belongs to you. Originally, trial missions don’t offer contribution, but if you really do succeed this time, I will give you five hundred points of contribution each.”
Li Qingshan said, “This seems like something I can’t decline. Fine then, I’ll accept the mission. When do we set off?” Declining was pointless anyway. Since Zhuo Zhibo was still maintaining his calm on the surface, he would let him continue doing so. No matter how many schemes there would be, he would confront them head on and break through them with force. He wanted to see just what traps could handle a daemon like him.
On the raging waters of Clear river, a two-storeyed sailboat pierced through the waves. The sails depicted a tiercel with its wings unfolded. This was a boat exclusive to the Hawkwolf Guard. Its design was ingenious, and it was put together with great precision. The internal decor was extravagant, and its performance was even more extraordinary. It could sail against the flow and still move much faster than the great ship that Li Qingshan had previously taken. As it travelled through the water, all other boats would avoid it, and even those great ships were no exception.
A teenager sat on the railing of the ship as he seemed to admire the scenery of the shores. From time to time, waves would sweep up and drench his clothes. He played around with a few spiritual stones in his hand; he seemed distracted.
Li Qingshan was thinking over the plan with this mission, but he clearly was not someone wise. He was unable to devise strategies, only react to changing circumstances. However, there was one thing he was certain about. It was no longer appropriate for him to revert to his daemon form, or even if he managed to hide it from the public, he would still raise suspicion. However, he believed his own strength was more than enough to handle most situations.
“Sirs, the two other sirs have invited you to the cabin!” A boatman made his way over and said politely.
Li Qingshan returned to the cabin and Diao Fei said politely, “Qingshan, let’s discuss our plan.”
Li Qingshan said, “You’d better just ask her. Qian Rongzhi, just what are you planning? Do you want to lure me into Ancient Wind city to kill me? To avenge your unlucky elder brother?”
Qian Rongzhi smiled obsequiously. “Are you that easy to kill? You’ve finally admitted that you killed Qian Rongming! Originally, I thought it was Diao Fei, but turns out it was you. However, he’s not my elder brother.”
Li Qingshan said, “So what if I did? If he’s not your elder brother, is he supposed to be your younger brother?”
Qian Rongzhi replied, “He’s not anything to me. Actually, we don’t have any connection by blood at all. It’s just because I had the talent to practise qi that Qian Yannian adopted me, which barely makes us siblings. However, now that he’s dead, he’s dead. I have no plans to avenge him. As a result, you don’t need to be wary of me. The three of us arrived on the same boat and are now leaving on the same boat as well, so you can call that fate. There’s even more reason for us to watch out for one another’s backs now.”
Li Qingshan was surprised. “So you weren’t actual siblings. Would you still call that a clan?”
Qian Rongzhi sneered. “What clan? At most, they’ll just harass some ordinary people. I’ve heard that true clans can refine pills such that untalented children can also become Qi Practitioners. As for the Qian family, they’re a clan who can’t even protect their own bloodline, so they’re just subpar fakes at most.”
Only then did Li Qingshan find out that clans could be divided like that. After hearing her tone, he asked out of curiosity, “Do you really plan on turning against the Qian family this time? Hasn’t the Qian family shown you great kindness?” Allowing an ordinary person to become a Qi Practitioner was basically a life-changing kindness, yet Qian Rongzhi’s attitude on this was very strange.
Qian Rongzhi rubbed her cheek as she chuckled. “Yeah, they showed great kindness. Aren’t I returning this great kindness right now?”
Her expression was so ghastly that even Li Qingshan and Diao Fei, people who frequently witnessed death, shivered inside.
Qian Rongzhi said, “Don’t look at me like that. I’ve put on an act and put up with it for long enough now. As long as you help me out this time, I don’t care what you do to me.”
Not only was Li Qingshan completely uninterested in this suggestion, but even Diao Fei felt the same. As long as their minds were mature enough, it was impossible for lust to blind them to the point where they would stop caring for their own lives, unless they were up against someone like Furong who knew the arts of charm.
Diao Fei said cautiously, “I don’t want to become an enemy of a fifth layer Qi Practitioner. Our mission is only to investigate. You come from the Qian family, so you must know where the pill room is. There’s no need for us to confront Qian Yannian.”
Qian Rongzhi cursed, “You coward. As soon as the pills are refined, they’re immediately delivered to Qian Yannian, stored in his personal hundred treasures pouch. You haven’t even seen him, yet you already frightened by his identity as a fifth layer Qi Practitioner?”
“You…” Diao Fei stood up angrily, but Li Qingshan extended his arm and stopped him. He said to Qian Rongzhi, “I have no interest in becoming enemies with a Qi Practitioner three layers stronger than me either. If that’s your plan, you better forget it. We’ll be leaving after we’ve completed our investigation. Would Qian Yannian be bold enough to pick a fight against the Hawkwolf Guard?”
Qian Rongzhi finally grew serious. “Do you know why the Qian family has no fourth layer Qi Practitioners? It’s because that old coot has become so senile that he does not even have the confidence to subdue fourth layer Qi Practitioners. He’s afraid that someone will replace him as the patriarch, so he has cut off the supply of pills to every single person who’s about to break through to the fourth layer.”
Li Qingshan and Diao Fei were surprised. He was even willing to sacrifice the development of the clan to maintain his own declining authority; this patriarch was simply terrifying.
Qian Rongzhi said, “When the time comes, I’ll secretly move against him first so that we can kill him in a single stroke. The remaining ones aren’t even enough for you to take them seriously, right?”
Li Qingshan and Diao Fei looked at one another. Not only did Li Qingshan take third layer Qi Practitioners lightly, but even Diao Fei was confident that his actual battle experience had exceeded those pieces of trash that a clan had groomed and had not gone through any life-threatening battles.
In the end, Qian Rongzhi played her trump card against them. “There are at least three hundred Qi Gathering pills in Qian Yannian’s hundred treasures pouch, as well as a few other extremely precious pills that are no worse than Pearl Dew pills. Although his spiritual artifacts aren’t as great as the ones from the Hawkwolf Guard, he should still have a few, which would still be worth a few hundred Qi Gathering pills. If you include what the other Qi Practitioners possess, the total wealth might very well reach a thousand Qi Gathering pills.”
This figure stunned both Li Qingshan and Diao Fei. The Qian family really was just like what its name meant—money. They were a living treasury of a clan. Although they were a subpar clan, they were still a clan after all, having existed for over a century. As such, they must have built up quite a lot of wealth over time. Just like how wealth could tempt people, Qi Practitioners were no less greedy than ordinary people when it came to pills and spiritual artifacts; in fact, their greed might even be greater.
Qian Rongzhi extended her hand. Diao Fei hesitated before placing his hand on there. Afterwards, Li Qingshan extended his hand over as well. Their hands were placed on one another.
As a result, for their common goal, these three people who disliked one another or were even hostile to one another temporarily reached a truce, advancing towards Ancient Wind city.
After docking, they switched to horses. They travelled during the day and rested at night. Five days later, the three of them arrived before Ancient Wind city.
Immediately, someone recognised Qian Rongzhi. They called out, “The young miss has returned! Report it to the patriarch!”
Li Qingshan discovered that Qian Rongzhi’s expression had changed unknowingly, becoming just like when he had first met her. There was some reservedness within her arrogance, as if she constantly took pride in her identity and clan. No one could have imagined the terrifying hatred within her.