Chapter 147 – The Arts of Alchemy
“I’m your father!” The chubby man called out as blood spurted out from his mouth.
“You have a daughter?” Qian Rongzhi was taken aback. She thought about it seriously. “Oh, you did. However, didn’t you sell her off already? Afterwards, you used the money to take a few concubines!”
The chubby man said with difficulty, “I did all of that for… for your sake so that you would… would have a good future. You should be… be thanking me.”
“Everything I possess right now came from my desperate and painful struggles! Stop trying to claim credit for yourself!” Qian Rongzhi suddenly lost her temper and kicked his hand away.
The chubby man opened his mouth, but he said nothing. Hatred and despair filled his face. He finally passed away.
“You derived fortune from my misfortune, and now, you’re suffering misfortune because of my fortune. It’s very fair, isn’t it?” Qian Rongzhi muttered to herself. She made her way out of the estate, throwing everything behind her.
All of her memories had been eliminated now.
Qian Rongzhi held a grand funeral in Shangguan town. She undertook the most noble and tedious ceremony, throwing joss paper into the air.
She knelt before the memorial tablets, almost crying to a point where she fainted as she held the coffins. Eventually, she forced her up, thanking every single person who had come to mourn in anguish.
“Rongzhi was just under the order of the government. Who would’ve thought that it would lead to such a disaster.”
“Sigh, to think that a girl as good as Rongzhi would suffer a fate like this. The people of the Qian family really have no conscience at all.”
Night descended. Everyone dispersed, and the gate was firmly shut. A pair of white lanterns before the gate swayed in the wind.
After turning down the neighbours who wanted to help watch over the coffins, Qian Rongzhi leaned against the coffins of her entire family in her white, mourning apparel. She took out a jar of wine from her third uncle Qian Haode’s hundred treasures pouch and took a cup from the altar. She poured away the wine that was offered to the dead and filled it up again. She toasted to the memorial tablets before drinking all of it.
The next day, the coffins were buried, and she had already become a great, filial daughter in utter sorrow.
Just like the customs, she mourned for seven days. By the seventh night, over a dozen alcohol jars were scattered on the floor. Suddenly, she felt a chill and opened her eyes in a daze. Over a dozen figures stood before her. They all had extremely familiar faces, staring at her coldly. The chubby man cursed and scolded her loudly in anger.
She let out a drunken laugh, pulled out the Water-splitting barb, and swept out with it. The chilling wind dispersed, and the shadows screamed.
Her mind cleared up. When she looked around again, there was not a shadow at all. It was difficult to distinguish between the real and the fake while drunk.
Bang! A jar of alcohol was thrown onto the memorial tablets, and the tablets scattered on the ground. The alcohol splashed everywhere. She held a candle and gently let go. The fire spread rapidly, swallowing the names on the tablets and spreading throughout the entire ancestral hall.
She made her way out of the blazing ancestral hall, disappearing into the darkness without even looking back. Behind her, the fire spread across the entire estate.
Another person swore the oath to never return home again.
The flute resounded through the dusk, lasting for a very long time.
Li Qingshan placed down the jade flute. He felt like it really did have a better tone compared to the reed flute he used in the past.
He began a quiet lifestyle. Everyday, he would cultivate, read and play the flute. During his leisure, he would stroll through the city and eat something new. Life was very peaceful.
Plop! There was a splash in the water tank. A carp waved its huge tail.
“Stop messing around!” Li Qingshan said, “I’ll give you a larger pond in a few days!”
The water tank immediately fell quiet.
A few days ago, he crushed a Qi Gathering pill of very poor quality and scattered it in the water tank. The next day, the carp grew larger, and on the day after that, it grew larger once again; then today arrived. The water tank had already become cramped. It could no longer swim around freely.
Li Qingshan looked at the huge, red carp in the water tank. “I might as well just have you cooked.”
With a swish, the carp swam to the bottom of the tank.
“It’s just a pity that my culinary ability is only so-so!” Li Qingshan laughed. He reached towards the water take, and his daemon core revolved. The water in the tank surged out, constantly changing shape in the air as the carp swam through it.
Li Qingshan took the carp and made his way towards the Qian estate. There was a large pond in the Qian estate that could hold this bastard.
Leaping over the wall, the large estate was empty. It had gone from being lively and bustling to deserted and quiet. It had only been ten days since someone tended to the place, and weeds had already begun growing on the pathways with dodders climbing up the beams. Within the vitality was a feeling of decay, while the stone steps were even worse. The dried traces of blood that could not be cleaned off gave off an even more ominous feeling.
So many days had passed already. Not a single person in this city was bold enough to approach this place. They would only look from afar and sigh.
Although he had made the district magistrate auction off the estate as well, Li Qingshan knew without even thinking that no one would buy it. Before long, it would fall into disuse completely and become a ghost house.
The lotus flowers had already wilted and fallen away in the pond, but the lily pads remained verdant.
“No one will eat you here.”
With a splash, Li Qingshan threw the carp into the lotus pond. The carp raised its head and bobbed up and down, as if it was thanking him before opening its mouth.
“Fine. Let’s just say it’s your lucky day.” Li Qingshan smiled and placed a Qi Gathering pill into its mouth. Only then did it turn around and swim towards the depths of the lotus pond.
Just when Li Qingshan wanted to turn around and return, he suddenly saw a speck of firelight in the distance. It pierced through the shrubbery and shadows. He passed through the shrubs and approached the speck of firelight. He caught a whiff of a heavy fragrance from afar.
Entering through the door, he saw a large, circular, three-legged cauldron that currently gurgled with white steam. There was a heavy fragrance with the steam.
A pretty figure sat on a cushion in front of the cauldron with her hands extended, sending true qi into the cauldron. The amount of steam varied over time, controlled by true qi.
Li Qingshan recognised her with a single glance. “Qian Rongzhi, what are you doing here?”
Qian Rongzhi did not answer him. A while later, she pulled back her hands and regulated her true qi slowly. The cauldron top opened violently and steam filled the entire room.
Li Qingshan found this smell to be extremely familiar. “You’re refining pills!” He looked around and discovered that this should have been the alchemy room of the Qian family. It was also where all the Qi Gathering pills in his hundred treasures pouch came from.
He had eaten quite a few Qi Gathering pills before, but this was the first time he had seen someone refine pills. Then he looked at the huge cauldron. It was covered with green rust, but it continued to shine. It was actually a low grade spiritual artifact.
Originally, Li Qingshan believed that the Qian family would store something like that in a hundred treasures pouch if they possessed it, but he never thought it would be like this. The cauldron was so large that Qian Yannian would barely be able to fit it in his hundred treasures pouch if he placed it in completely. The inscriptions on low grade spiritual artifacts were limited. Since the cauldron could spray water, it obviously could not shrink.
Qian Rongzhi smiled. “This is my home!”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s mine now.”
“I’ve already bought it from you. According to our deal, everything in the Qian family is mine. That obviously includes this cauldron. It sure has been a profit for me.” Qian Rongzhi took out the deed to the estate as she smiled.
“Let’s just say you were lucky.” Li Qingshan turned around to leave. He did not feel any pity at all. Even if Qian Rongzhi had not done all of this, he would have never bothered to search through the estate anyway.
Qian Rongzhi said, “Do you want to learn alchemy?”
Li Qingshan stopped. He looked back. “What do you want?”
Li Qingshan had already realised that apart from the most rudimentary cultivation and practising of qi, there were also several subsidiary occupations on the path of cultivation, such as making talismans, refining pills, forging artifacts, formations, and so on. Cultivators would normally learn one or two of them, which would bring about great benefits to their cultivation.
He could tell from the objects in Qian Yannian’s hundred treasures pouch that Qian Yannian had not studied forging artifacts or formations much, but he was rather skilled at creating talismans and refining pills. These also happened to be the areas he was interested in.
“I want you!” Qian Rongzhi hesitated before biting her lip and looking at Li Qingshan in complete seriousness. She said with a hint of embarrassment, “You must think that I’m a lascivious woman, but actually, I’ve never done anything with a man…”
She believed she had mostly understood Li Qingshan now, so she secretly came up with a plan. Although it was rather surprising for her to come across him tonight, it was perfect for her to try it. Li Qingshan would probably turn her down, and she would react with becoming overwhelmed by grief. Then she would tell him about her sorrowful childhood and shed a few tears when it mattered. She refused to believe she would not earn his sympathy. They would sleep together, and he would swear a pledge of love. With how straightforward and generous he was, she definitely would be able to get something out of him.
However, just when she had come up with a serious plan and written a script for all of this, Li Qingshan’s improvisation completely kicked in once more.
He interrupted her with a smile. “Alright. Teach me alchemy, and I’ll sell my body for just this once.” Although he found her actions to be appalling, there was no reason for him to turn down something as great as this. I’m a man, so am I supposed to be afraid of being ripped off by you?
Qian Rongzhi’s expression stiffened. Although she had thought of many possibilities before, she had never imagined that Li Qingshan would be such a scoundrel. It was completely different to her plan. She could not continue the act any longer. She suddenly recalled the first time she had seen him, when he was drinking and eating in the restaurant with all those women. She had misunderstood him far too much.
The vine wanted to climb onto a tree, to suck out tree sap and receive even more sunlight. Hopefully, it would kill the tree as well. However, never did it think that it had wrapped around a metal pole.
As a transcender, just what hadn’t he seen? Qian Rongzhi’s actions were nothing but commonplace in the society of his former life. Even news for entertainment and magazines for gossip could not be bothered reporting something like that. At most, they were just not as vicious and crafty as her.
Qian Rongzhi laughed dryly. “You sure know how to joke.”
Li Qingshan said, “Since the joke is over, let’s get to the point. What do you want in exchange for teaching me alchemy? Though, let me just say that I myself can be included in the deal for free. I won’t loathe you at all.”
Qian Rongzhi understood that seduction was useless against Li Qingshan, and even if she succeeded, only he would benefit. Not only was there no point to all of it, but it would even cost her, so she revealed her true colours and cut right to the chase. “I want the Geng Metal Method of Sharpening Qi.”
Li Qingshan said, “The cultivation method that Qian Yannian practises? I’ve already checked. It wasn’t there. Choose something else.”
“That old bastard must have destroyed it.” Qian Rongzhi cursed.
Li Qingshan said, “There are cultivation methods in the library of the Hawkwolf Guard. You can check it out once you go back.”
Qian Rongzhi said, “I’ve already checked. There’s plenty of garbage that lets you cultivate to the sixth or seventh layers, but there’s not a single one that reaches the tenth layer of Qi Practitioner.”
Li Qingshan asked, “Where’d you get the contribution from?”
Qian Rongzhi only smiled.
Li Qingshan said, “Forget that I asked. Where else can you get tenth layer Qi Practitioner methods from?”
Qian Rongzhi asked, “Don’t you find me to be very shameful?”
“That’s your freedom. It has nothing to do with me.”
Author’s Postscript: Yep, this is Li Qingshan’s attitude. He’s neither an impotent man, impervious to lust, nor a lustful man who does too much of it. It took me quite the effort to write him like that, but I like it very much. If you like it too, then give me a monthly ticket!