Chapter 162 – Birthday Present
Great hero Yu finally obtained his alcohol in the Lake Viewing restaurant. He drank to his heart’s content. He even used his tipsiness to toast Li Qingshan. Afterwards, other people came to toast him as well. They all fawned over him.
“Sir Li, do you have another nickname called the Black Tiger?” There were even some people who recognised Li Qingshan, recalling his extremely distant nickname.
Li Qingshan quickly dealt with their praises and questions and helped Xiao An to another piece of fish. “Try this. It’s quite nice.” Now that she had finally regained her sense of taste, she obviously had to make up for everything she had missed out over such a long period of time.
Xiao An lowered her head and ate obediently. Although she was expressionless, she remained bright red the entire time; it was like she was drunk.
An old monk made his way over and studied Xiao An. “Sir Li, your little friend gives off a very strong buddhist aura!” He was a diligent monk who had some cultivation about him, so he could sense the impact of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty on Xiao An.
Li Qingshan laughed. “My Xiao An will become a bodhisattva in the future!”
The old monk was taken aback. He placed his palms together in a prayer. “That’s sinful, that’s sinful. Sir, you mustn’t talk nonsense!”
Li Qingshan laughed. “How can common people understand the ambitions of the great? Right, Xiao An?”
Hua Chenglu was still the person that everyone crowded around. When she heard that, she glanced at Li Qingshan and shook her head. She had no idea whether this kid was audacious or simply foolish. Didn’t he know that a ninth layer Qi Practitioner was looking for him now? If it were not for her, he would have been torn to pieces a long time ago. He would not be able to go on about common people and great people here.
At this moment, a handsome young man arrived before her gracefully and whispered. He seemed to say something with deep affection.
Hua Chenglu’s smile vanished. She replied to him with a question, “Do you think you’re worthy?”
She was not particularly loud, but everyone present had sharp ears. They all looked over. Everyone knew what the young man was trying. In particular, the other young heroes present all sneered inside. You want to get involved with the Hua family? Why don’t you check yourself in the mirror first? Afterwards, they felt glad that they had not attempted the same thing.
Li Qingshan thought, Bastard, aren’t you a little too bestial? You won’t even spare a thirteen-year-old girl. If you were in my previous life, you would’ve been shot! However, this girl sure was realistic. She was unlike those young misses from the stories, who would be touched by true love and end up eloping with scholars.
The young man’s face became bright red. He covered his face and left in embarrassment.
Yu Zijian asked, “You just had to turn him down. You didn’t have to be so cruel to him.”
Hua Chenglu said, “He never had any sincere intentions in the first place, so why am I supposed to be all polite to him? Moreover, he didn’t even have the courage to say that he was worthy. He lacks confidence and has an inferiority complex. That’s just annoying.” Towards the end, she seemed to remember something, and her face became rather resentful.
The small incident failed to influence the atmosphere of the celebratory banquet.
After the banquet, the masters all bid farewell. They said they would be returning to eliminate the remaining unorthodox forces. In reality, they were just taking advantage of the situation so that they could claim a piece of the territory and wealth left behind by these unorthodox masters. There were a few young men on par with young heroes who were reluctant to part with Hua Chenglu.
Just when it was as noisy as it could get, Li Qingshan approached Hua Chenglu and whispered something into her ear.
Hua Chenglu had received a few toasts from people as well, so her face was slightly flushed. When she saw him approach her, she was rather displeased in the beginning, but when she heard his words, she was surprised. She glanced at Xiao An before smiling and nodded.
The young heroes were all envious of him. This kid sure knew how to climb upwards. If he became the son-in-law of the Hua family, he would basically experience a meteoric rise in status, wealth and everything else. In the past few days, a few of them had attempted similar things as well, but Hua Chenglu had shut them all down in a haughty manner. It was rare for her to smile after hearing something like that.
Just as Li Qingshan wanted to give something to Hua Chenglu, she waved her hand and turned it down. Li Qingshan did not insist either. He only gazed at her deeply, which embarrassed Hua Chenglu instead, making her shift her gaze. In the end, she placed something in his hundred treasures pouch and glanced at him in concern. She mentioned something again, but Li Qingshan only smiled and shook his head. With that, they finally stopped talking.
It was impossible for the Hua family to stand up for him over something as small as this. Zhuo Zhibo of the Hawkwolf Guard seemed to hate this kid very much as well, while the Sect of Clouds and Rain could endure the price that came with eliminating him. When the banquet ended, everyone left the restaurant and boarded their own carriages or horses.
Hua Chenglu emerged from the restaurant. Yu Zijian asked curiously, “What were you talking about with him earlier?” She thought that he was the same as the young heroes. Did she understand what would happen between man and woman at such a young age?
Hua Chenglu said in thought, “It’s nothing.”
Yu Zijian said, “What nothing? You two got along so well earlier. He might not be bad, but he’s far too vicious. He doesn’t suit you.”
Hua Chenglu finally understood what she was asking about. She smacked her over her head. “You’re so young, so what are you thinking about these random things for? He doesn’t suit me, so he’s supposed to suit you? You’re the one who’s interested, so don’t say that I am. He only wanted to buy a gift for that child. Afterwards, he bid farewell to me. I was afraid he would end up being caught by that old woman, so I tried to persuade him to travel with me, but he refused.”
Yu Zijian clutched her head and gazed at the restaurant in concern. “He’ll be fine, right?”
Under the rain and darkness of the night, the West Gate Granny parked her carriage in a dark alleyway. She firmly locked onto Li Qingshan’s aura in the restaurant. She refused to believe that the little princess of the Hua family would actually spend every moment of her time around this man. As long as she had the smallest opportunity, she would be able to strike. Taking away a single child and even accepting the child as a disciple would not exactly be a crime.
She watched the people scatter, but the West Gate Granny suddenly sensed that she had completely lost track of Li Qingshan’s aura. It was like he had simply vanished into thin air. She could not help but rush out of the carriage. She tore through the curtain of rain like a red ghost, basically treading on air. She circled around the restaurant a few times, but she failed to sense Li Qingshan’s aura at all.
Landing on the eaves, she screeched, “This is impossible!” How could a mere second layer Qi Practitioner hide his aura so well, enough to avoid her senses? “Li Qingshan, get out here!”
Her voice rolled through the entire city. It was unknown how many families she had alarmed, but Li Qingshan obviously would not answer her.
Instead, Hua Chenglu grinned and yelled at the eaves, “How’s that, old woman? You can’t find him now, can you?”
Yu Zijian let out a sigh of relief. She shot a glance at Hua Chenglu. “How can you just hit me like that?”
The West Gate Granny glared at Hua Chenglu viciously before flying away again. She expanded her search range, but in the dark rain, the streets were as complicated as a maze. Li Qingshan was like a fish that had been released back into the water. He had swum away, vanishing completely.
Hua Chenglu rolled her eyes at Yu Zijian. “Slow-witted!” She took out a small, delicate carriage from her hundred treasures pouch and tossed it on the ground. Just like the ship earlier, the carriage rapidly expanded, but it was drawn by two wooden horses.
The wheels rolled, and the carriage took off into the rainy night.
In the carriage, Yu Zijian managed to last until midnight, but without the support of true qi, she was just mentally weaker. As such, she laid down on the soft, golden, silken pillows and fell asleep.
Hua Chengzu leaned on the window sill and thought about everything that had happened tonight. From blasting the Island of Cherishing Flowers to hosting the celebratory banquet, no one has been bold enough to call me useless! I’ve done two significant things as well! Afterwards, she smiled complacently. She seemed just like a child.
Then she thought of what Li Qingshan had said to her earlier in the restaurant.
“Can you sell me one of your humanoid puppets?”
“I don’t have a lot of things that I can offer. I only have a few spiritual stones and a few dozen talismans. Would that be enough?”
When this utterly reckless and foolish young man who would remain almost insanely stubborn before the pressure of a ninth layer Qi Practitioner said this, he was extremely stern. He even seemed like he was begging her.
He made her think of someone. He would also lower his proud head for the sake of a girl, doing all that he could to make her happy. Melancholy unbefitting of her age appeared on her face. She no longer tried to act mature anymore either. She only sighed. “Big brother Chengzan.”
At this moment, her eyes lit up. Outside the window, Li Qingshan stood in a dark alleyway in a straw rain cloak with Xiao An beside him. She was also wearing a small rain cloak. He clasped his hands at her with a smile, and Hua Chenglu straightened herself and returned the greeting. The carriage had already passed him now. All that was left before her were rain-soaked walls, but the sight still lingered in her mind.
The young man stood in the dark wind and rain, but he seemed to give off a powerful and positive light. He was like a hard piece of rock, unable to be affected by anything. He was still very weak, but he possessed a certain sense of strength that was no less than her elder brother’s or even surpassed his in certain aspects.
She was infected by him. She made up her mind. I’ll definitely help you, big brother.
Li Qingshan lowered his large, bamboo hat and held Xiao An’s hand. “Let’s go. Do you want me to carry you on my back?”
Xiao An shook her head.
Holding hands, they vanished into the pitch-black curtain of rain.
Five kilometers from Lakeside city, two rain cloaks, one large and one small, hung in front of a ruined temple.
Fire blazed in the temple, purging the moisture and darkness. Two shadows, also one large and one small, were projected onto the earthen walls.
Li Qingshan said with a mysterious smile, “Close your eyes.”
Xiao An just closed her eyes obediently.
“You can open them now. Tada! Look what this is!”
Xiao An opened her eyes and saw Li Qingshan holding a small, wooden person in his arms. It was the same humanoid puppet she had seen on the ship. Her eyes shone with surprise and joy.
Li Qingshan placed the puppet onto the ground, and it immediately expanded to the size of an adult. Under his command, it clinked and clanked as it moved around.
“This is a birthday gift for you! Yep, today is the birth of your new life. The eighth of the eighth. That’s a good number. I got this from miss Hua. Although miss Hua is a little childish, she’s not a bad person. I’ll definitely return this favour to her in the future. So what do you think about it?”
Xiao An blinked her eyes as her long eyelashes moved rapidly. Her eyes were rather moist. She opened her mouth in an attempt to say something, but she halted. She was still unable to speak.
“You still can’t speak?” Li Qingshan found this to be quite the pity. He hated the witch even more now.
Xiao An shook her head sadly.
Li Qingshan rubbed her head and encouraged her with a smile. “There’s no need to force yourself. You can go slowly. I know what you’re trying to say even when you can’t talk.”
Xiao An stood up and began fiddling around with the puppet. She controlled the puppet and made it move around, and before long, she became happy again. She forgot about all of her worries, even though she would always forget to move her face and smile.
Author’s Postscript: Ruthlessness does not make a hero, and taking pity does not make you any less of a real man. Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers; head-bowed, like a willing ox I serve the people. Yep, this is the feeling. If you like this feeling, please give me the monthly tickets in your hands!