Chapter 146 – The Illusionary Riches of Human Society
Looking down from this vantage point, Ancient Wind city seemed like a series of steps, and the rows upon rows of roofs and buildings were built upon these steps. Currently, all of it was doused in a layer of red light.
Many people flowed through the intersecting streets and alleyways. There were vendors selling breakfast, people buying groceries, and travelling merchants who had risen early. It was a clamorous sight of society.
The sight from here was extremely vast and wide, which opened his mind and allowed him to see further as well.
“So the scenery here was actually so magnificent?” Li Qingshan sighed in surprise slightly. He took in a deep breath and began practising martial arts, moving his arms and legs around.
He sensed the flow of true qi through his body. After eating nine Qi Gathering pills last night, it had strengthened slightly yet again. His cultivation at the second layer was gradually consolidating.
He was not in a hurry to revert to daemon form and eat a huge quantity of pills.
That was because he could feel he would remain here for a while, and he would have to go back to Jiaping city for his next portion of Qi Gathering pills. Instead of eating a large number of pills and suffering from a temporary shortage, it would be better for him to take it slowly. The daemon core would naturally absorb a part of it.
He found a set of clothes from the past owner of the room and changed out of his Black Wolf uniform. Afterwards, he left the place and made his way down a series of stairs. He ordered some local specialty snacks in a store with the word ‘tea’ written on a plaque.
He felt like he was a tiny step closer to completing his great dream of eating all the delicacies of the world. Afterwards, he went off on a stroll in satisfaction. He purposefully moved very slowly so that he could appreciate the scenery along the way.
Who knows how long it had been since he had settled down and done something like this. Ever since he began cultivation, every single day was tense and pressing. Even when he returned to human society and arrived in the ancient Jiaping city, he had to deal with an endless number of problems constantly.
He had punished the wicked, assassinated a powerful opponent, and taken precautions against enemies. Even when he had the slightest leisure, he had to take advantage of every moment to cultivate, afraid to relax even by the slightest bit.
He had almost forgotten what leisure was like. He recalled the past, those times he spent on Crouching Ox hill, watching over the ox as it grazed, looking at the mountains, playing a reed flute, and avoiding the oppression of his elder brother and his wife. Unknowingly, a morning passed like this.
It seemed like two completely different lives. They each had their own charms, but he preferred his current lifestyle more. He was not someone who would lament about the past.
Looking at the clamorous crowds on the streets, he had already developed a sense of estrangement with it all unknowingly. He was still a Qi Practitioner of the lowest and weakest level, but he had gone down a diverging path of no return from ordinary people.
Ordinary people seemed to walk on level crowds, getting married, having children, covering daily necessities, until they passed away. On the other hand, cultivators seemed to be climbing a mountain that they could never reach the top of. Every time they made progress, they would see new things. Their lives would be elongated, spared from the grasp of death.
An official notice had already been placed before the government office. They even stationed a literate, minor officer there to read it aloud, announcing that all the property of the Qian family would be auctioned off in seven days.
Several hundred people gathered in front of the government office, forming a tight encirclement. They all pointed or indicated at it as they discussed.
Li Qingshan stood within the crowd and stared at it for a while like everyone else. The district magistrate sure was fast.
Afterwards, he passed through the crowd and entered a small bookshop. He paid two taels of silver and purchased several books of leisure, including poems, history, and random essays in general. Afterwards, he checked out a musical instrument shop and spent thirty-five taels for two scores and a jade flute.
Returning home, he sat down on the rocking chair below the grape vines and casually flipped open a book, reading through it carefully. The sun had already risen into the sky, turning from red to white. It pierced through the dense leaves of the grape vines and scattered on the slightly yellow pages as well as his face.
Right now, he seemed especially like a teenager and not a fearless cultivator, a decisive Black Wolf guard when it came to killing. The sharpness of his chiselled face seemed to mellow slightly, while his gaze that was like drawn blades was sheathed once more. They became deep and clear.
The spirit turtle’s daemon core gradually revolved within his body with unprecedented translucency. Water vapour flowed out from him naturally, moistening his clothes.
He failed to notice that he had become completely engrossed by a great war within a history book.
That was a certain type of mood and a certain way of cultivating.
A bow that was not in use had to be unstrung. He eased up from being so tense, nurturing his mind and body, only so that he could shoot an even more powerful arrow in the future, perhaps soon.
Not every single person could be so leisurely. There was a small town several dozen kilometers from Ancient Wind city. It was called Shangguan town, as most of the people living there had Shangguan as their surname.
Although they possessed a rare surname, they were not some clan of the martial arts society. The people were just the most ordinary common people.
However, there was a family in the town who went from being an ordinary family to the wealthiest and most influential family in the town, just because they produced a daughter who bore the surname Qian. They had whitewashed walls and jade-green tiles with countless servants. There was cheerful singing everyday. Everyone in the village was envious of them.
A rider in black on a fine, white horse slowly advanced along the path that connected Shangguan town to Ancient Wind city.
Qian Rongzhi looked at Shangguan village on the horizon from afar. Her mind that had been as still as water suddenly became a mess. She could not help but tighten her grasp around the Water-splitting barb on her waist. The cold weapon brought her a sliver of warmth.
The sun blazed in the sky, yet there was a sliver of lingering gloom in her eyes. She mocked herself, “Qian Rongzhi, oh Qian Rongzhi. You really have overestimated yourself.”
She had been taken away from this family. After she became accomplished with cultivation, Qian Yannian permitted her to return home and see her family. Ever since then, she frequently returned. She treated every single person in the family with great warmth. She wanted Qian Yannian to believe she treasured her ties and her past. Moreover, she wanted to make the Qian family believe they could control her using these people.
But now, she had already broken free from all of this. It was pointless for these facades to exist anymore. Her heart gradually turned cold. It was time for her to end it.
No one should be able to derive happiness from her misfortune! Nobody!
The vermillion gates of the Shangguan estate were wide open as blood flowed out from under the screen wall at the entrance.
Qian Rongzhi clutched her Water-splitting barb and frowned in thought as she stood behind the screen wall. There were over a dozen corpses strewn across the ground. There were guards, servants, servant girls, and maidservants…
She could name every single person there, but now, they were all dead.
She ventured deeper into the estate and saw more and more corpses. When she arrived in the internal courtyard, she saw a madam on the floor. She was originally a country woman, but her head was now adorned with precious jewelry, and she wore expensive silks from the south. However, she had been reduced to a blood mess now.
Qian Rongzhi had basically forgotten the name of this madam, as she had called her ‘mother’ for too long.
However, she felt her heart ease up for some reason. She gazed at the corpse deeply before stepping over it.
Afterwards, there were even more familiar people. Siblings.
Despite it being noon, the ancestral hall was still very dark. Several tablets stood in the heavy darkness as it enshrined the past ancestors of the Shangguan family.
A white-haired old man with a darkened face held a chubby, middle-aged man. He cast his cold, hateful gaze at Qian Rongzhi as she walked in; he yelled, “Shangguan Rongzhi, I knew you would return here!”
Qian Rongzhi said with mixed emotions, “Third uncle!”
This old man was Qian Yannian’s nephew. He had practised martial arts for many years. Finally, he broke through to the innate realm, reaching the second layer of Qi Practitioner to become one of the masters of the Qian family. Last night, he managed to escape from the main hall of the Qian family. Diao Fei did not choose to pursue him, which was why he managed to escape alive.
Qian Rongzhi said, “Did you do all this?!”
The third uncle said, “That’s right. Shangguan Rongzhi, you traitor! How dare you still call me third uncle! You killed the entire Qian family! You destroyed the Qian family! You’ve destroyed my everything. I will never forgive you. I will kill your entire family.”
“Rongzhi, save me!” The chubby, middle-aged man’s body jiggled. Snot and tears flowed across his face, perhaps out of fear, or perhaps out of sorrow.
This was the person she called father. Qian Rongzhi said furiously and fearfully, “Father, I’ll definitely save you! Qian Haode, release my father!”
Qian Haode said, “Now you know fear? You bitch! Throw away your weapon and kneel!” Qian Rongzhi hesitated at first, so he crushed the chubby man’s shoulder. The man howled and Qian Haode ordered, “Kneel!”
With a clang, Qian Rongzhi threw the Water-splitting barb aside and knelt. She inched forward on her knees as she begged in anguish, “Please! Release my father!”
Qian Haode smiled crazily and complacently. He refused to just kill her off. Not only did he want to kill off her entire family, but he even wanted to torture her closest family right in front of her.
Qian Rongzhi inched closer on her knees. She reached backwards with her right hand and true qi sucked the Water-splitting barb back into her hand. She leapt up from below, stabbing towards Qian Haode.
Qian Haode pulled the chubby man in front of him as a meat shield, blocking his body firmly. Then he grabbed the man’s other shoulder, waiting to force back Qian Rongzhi before torturing him viciously again. He wanted this bitch to regret her actions.
However, he felt a chill in his chest. Qian Rongzhi had no intention of pulling back. The Water-splitting bard stabbed deep into the meat shield, and the tip entered Qian Haode’s chest. True qi turned into blue light, piercing through him.
“You-” Qian Haode and the chubby man looked at Qian Rongzhi in disbelief. However, the anguish on her face had already vanished completely. It was replaced by cold satisfaction.
Qian Rongzhi smiled. “It would have been rather difficult for me to kill you otherwise!”
Qian Haode said, “Shangguan Rongzhi, y- you venomous bitch! You won’t even spare your own family!”
Qian Rongzhi corrected him, “I’m not Shangguan Rongzhi. I’m Qian Rongzhi! Most of my family is dead already. Only you remain. From today onwards, I won’t have any family at all.” She drew out the Water-splitting barb viciously.
Qian Haode and the chubby man collapsed on the ground together. Qian Rongzhi did not even glance at the chubby man. She removed the hundred treasures pouch from Qian Haode and said sweetly, “Thank you, third uncle.” Just like an obedient little girl.
Qian Haode raised his hand with difficulty as he tried to gather true qi. The Water-splitting barb stabbed through his head without any hesitation at all. “There’s no need to hold back with Rongzhi.”
“Rongzhi, s- save me!” The chubby man extended his hand with difficulty and grabbed Qian Rongzhi by the corner of her clothes.
“Who are you?”