Chapter 164 – The Moving Undercurrent
“Granny, there’s no need to worry. You are welcome to wait here. I refuse to believe the kid won’t return to Jiaping for the rest of his life! If he really doesn’t return, then he’s a deserter who’s betrayed the Hawkwolf Guard. I’ve worked with the Sect of Clouds and Rain for all these years, so I’ll definitely give your esteemed sect a satisfying conclusion to the matter of the Parlour of Clouds and Rain. I’ve already taken back the Parlour of Clouds and Rain that Zhou Wenbin closed down. Your esteemed sect only needs to send people here again and you’ll probably be open for business once again very soon.”
Zhuo Zhibo said rather enthusiastically, both for the sake of dealing with Li Qingshan and for the many benefits that the Sect of Clouds and Rain could offer.
The West Gate Granny said indifferently, “Thank you for your kind intentions, commander. The Sect of Clouds and Rain will be sending people over very soon. I definitely must request the commander to take good care of them. However, I’ll have to leave Jiaping city very soon.” At the end of the day, a world of cultivators was still all about strength. Although she needed Zhuo Zhibo, she was still extremely haughty.
Zhuo Zhibo was surprised, “Why’s that?”
The West Gate Granny said, “It’s the sect master’s order. I can’t disobey it.”
“Why did you esteemed sect master… Was it because?”
A sliver of sunkenness flashed across the West Gate Granny’s eyes, “That’s right. It’s all because of the girly from the Hua family. Our Sect of Clouds and Rain can’t just shrug off any pressure from your vice commander Hua.”
“I see!” Zhuo Zhibo was filled with regret. He could not kill with a borrowed blade then. However, he would never be bold enough to grumble about Hua Chengzan.
The West Gate Granny said, “Though, the kid’s only a second layer Qi Practitioner. There’s no need for me to do anything. Just you would be enough, commander Zhuo! Our sect master has already promised that as long as you can hand the girl beside the kid to the Sect of Clouds and Rain, our sect will give you a bottle of Pills of Spring Breeze and Rain to you as remuneration.”
Zhuo Zhibo was interested. The Sect of Cloud and Rain’s Pills of Spring Breeze and Rain were unique to them. They required extremely rare spiritual herbs and a special secret method to refine. Although they could not strengthen true qi, they could purge the impurities within true qi, saving a tremendous amount of time on purifying true qi. They were so valuable that just one of them was worth several hundred Qi Gathering pills. The Sect of Clouds and Rain was really paying the price this time. He had no idea just what was so special about the girl that she could raise so much attention from the Sect of Clouds and Rain.
However, he appeared unfazed on the surface, “How can you say that, granny? How can I attack my own subordinate? I will bear the girl you spoke of in mind. I won’t disappoint your esteemed sect master.”
The West Gate Granny said, “There’s one more thing. I want to take this disciple of mine to pay a visit to the Clear River city.”
“Disciple?” Zhuo Zhibo wsa confused, but he saw Qian Rongzhi who had been attending to them silently the entire time speak sweetly, “Thank you, granny.”
Zhuo Zhibo’s face immediately sank, “Rongzhi, what’s this all about?”
During the few days the West Gate Granny spent in Jiaping city, Qian Rongzhi had been the one receiving her. In just a few days, she managed to establish a tie with her and convince the eccentric West Gate Granny to accept her as a disciple. However, Zhuo Zhibo had only just heard of the news, as if he had served as a springboard to her.
Qian Rongzhi smiled, “Granny knew I had never joined a sect before, so she agreed to accept me as her disciple. I want to go to the Sect of Clouds and Rain to cultivate for a while, so I hope the commander can give approval.”
Her cultivation talent was acceptable and she had some beauty about her. She possessed an ordinary aspect of beauty. Although it was nowhere close to the level of the Aspect of Heavenly Fragrance and Beauty, it was still enough to catch the West Gate Granny’s attention. At the same time, she was extremely skilled at manipulating people, such that all of her actions and words suited the West Gate Granny’s strange tastes. As a result, she was chosen to become her disciple. None of this was a coincidence.
She was like a poisonous vine, extending and reaching towards all opportunities and climbing upwards no matter what the cost was, just for more sunlight and due. In her eyes, Qian Yannian was nothing. Zhuo Zhibo was nothing. Even the West Gate Granny was nothing. They were all just tools to be used by her.
The West Gate Granny was a ninth layer Qi Practitioner, while Zhuo Zhibo was only at the sixth layer. She did not even need to compare them to know which tool would be better. With the protective umbrella of the Sect of Clouds and Rain, she no longer needed to bend over backwards to fawn up to Zhuo Zhibo. As a result, her attitude towards him just changed.
The Hawkwolf Guard was only a job. It did not forbid its members from joining sects, just like Diao Fei who came from a sect. Obviously, if Zhuo Zhibo wanted to obstruct her, he had many ways to make things difficult for Qian Rongzhi. However, right in front of him was the sunken-faced West Gate Granny, so how would he be bold enough to do that? The West Gate Granny only mentioned it to him before leaving with Qian Rongzhi. She was not asking for his opinion or permission.
Qian Rongzhi smiled. She was confident. The reason why she had only told Zhuo Zhibo about this right now was to remove all of his opportunities to get in her way. If the opportunity arose, Zhuo Zhibo definitely would have taken it. There was not a single man who would be willing to let go of a docile, obedient woman that they could toy with however they wished.
Zhuo Zhibo squinted his eyes, “Rongzhi, you’ve managed to get yourself into a good place. As your commander, I’m obviously happy for you. Only if you learn some skills from the Sect of Clouds and Rain can you complete your Hawkwolf Guard missions better. I’ll permit you to take a few months’ leave, but there won’t be any pills. At the same time, I need to take you three newcomers to Clear River city to see the two commanders, so you can just go ahead for now.”
He made his decision very quickly. If he insisted on getting in her way, he would derive no benefit at all. As a result, he could only agree to it reluctantly. Although he knew that Qian Rongzhi’s sugar-coated words were mostly insincere, his pride as a man was still hurt from being abandoned so easily. He developed resentment towards Qian Rongzhi. She was as shameless as they came.
Before Qian Rongzhi boarded the carriage, she bowed gracefully, “Thank you, commander. In the coming days, Rongzhi will serve the commander again, in return for your great kindness.” She added inside, If you’re still alive, that is.
Even if she had managed to join the Sect of Clouds and Rain, her status as a Hawkwolf Guard remained the same, so before she had obtained strength that surpassed Zhuo Zhibo, she would have never been so disrespectful to Zhuo Zhibo. However, she had a feeling that Zhuo Zhibo would definitely die under Li Qingshan’s hands. This was a woman’s intuition, and it was mostly based on her instincts from all the calculations she made. There was obviously no reason for her to be polite to a dead person.
Zhuo Zhibo said, “No problem!” He watched the carriage leave. He felt how there was nowhere to vent the urge in his crotch, so he shattered the stone table in front of him with a slam.
In Clear River city within a small garden in the Hua estate, Hua Chengzan said to Hua Chenglu, “Alright. The West Gate Granny has been summoned back from Jiaping city for questioning. She won’t be able to cause any problems to the kid for now.”
Hua Chenglu nodded, “Good.”
Hua Chengzan said, “It’s rare of you to request something from me for the sake of others.”
“What for the sake of others? This has to do with your Hawkwolf Guard. I’m not requesting you either. I’m helping you. Don’t you know him?”
Hua Chengzan said helplessly, “Alright, alright, you’re helping me. We don’t actually know each other. We just met each other once. Though, I never thought that kid would actually emerge from there alive. He probably has it tough under Zhuo Zhibo’s command!”
Hua Chengzan seemed to be in thought. Almost a year had passed since then and Hua Chengzan’s memory of Li Qingshan had already become mostly blurred. Only when Hua Chenglu mentioned him did he recall it all. He felt rather amazed. He had never thought he would actually be able to emerge from the mountains and actually be bold enough to become a Hawkwolf guard under Zhuo Zhibo, even making so much trouble for Zhuo Zhibo.
Hua Chenglu asked, “Why would he have it tough?”
“Even if I tell you, you won’t understand the matters of adults.”
Hua Chenglu utterly hated that, “What matters of adults? That Li Qingshan’s just a few years older than him, and he’s only a second layer Qi Practitioner. His cultivation’s no different from me.” Her cultivation had already reached the peak of the second layer. She was basically only a step away from the third layer now.
“Then why don’t you go kill a fifth layer Qi Practitioner?”
“Why would I go kill a fifth layer Qi Practitioner?!”
“The kid’s not just a Qi Practitioner, but a Body Practitioner as well. A month ago, he destroyed a Qi Practitioner clan during his first mission and killed a fifth Layer Qi Practitioner. The master of the parlour from the Sect of Clouds and Rain is also a fifth layer Qi Practitioner, so it’s very likely that he was behind his death as well. Moreover, he was only a first layer Qi Practitioner back then.”
This information did not just come out of his strength as a cultivator, but from the might of his authority as well. The Hawkwolf Guard had eyes and ears littered across the world. However, Hua Chengzan never paid much attention to this usually. There were several dozen black iron Hawkwolf Guard offices under his control, so why would he pay attention to one in measly Jiaping city? Only when Hua Chenglu mentioned it did he order people to investigate it and very soon, a very detailed report was placed on his desk. The information he received surprised him quite a bit.”
Hua Chenglu was surprised. It was no wonder the West Gate Granny would be looking for him. He was actually so powerful. It was no wonder why he could resist the West Gate Granny’s aura and pressure as well, as well as why he was able to escape from the West Gate Granny so easily.
“Don’t think too much about it. You best prepare yourself for the admission examination at the start of spring. I’ve checked the girl you brought back already. Her temperament isn’t bad, much better than you. Here’s an Innate pill for her. She should be able to directly practise qi after ingesting it.” Hua Chengzan handed a pill to Hua Chenglu. This was the power that actual Qi Practitioner clans possessed. They could use pills and medicines to overcome the restriction of innate talent.
As for Li Qingshan, he was just an interesting subordinate to Hua Chengzan. He did not deserve too much attention. As long as Li Qingshan managed to stay alive, he believed he would see him very soon again.
Li Qingshan looked at the full moon in the crowd of people within a small city near Jiaping. He thought, It’s Mid-Autumn again! Although he had budgeted as hard as he could, he still ended up polishing off all of the Qi Gathering pills on him. With several hundred Qi Gathering pills now in his belly, the effects were evident.
In a remote place, he had transformed back into daemon form and he had already reached twenty-seven feet. His strength increased once again. He was close to the second layer of the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength now.
However, as soon as he stopped ingesting pills, his cultivation speed immediately slowed to a halt, enough to make his hair stand on end. It was about time for him to return to Jiaping city. That old woman couldn’t be so patient!
He casually broke a mooncake in half and handed a piece to Xiao An, before carrying her through the sea of people. He emerged from the celebrating people and made his way towards Jiaping city.
After returning to Jiaping city, Li Qingshan and Xiao An erased all of their auras and snuck back onto the mountain. Li Qingshan twitched his nose and just as expected, he caught the whiff of a familiar smell. That was the unique and heavy fragrance that the West Gate Granny possessed. Just as expected, the West Gate Granny had been waiting for him here.
There were many different ways for cultivators to cover their tracks, but they would always forget about their odour. Li Qingshan followed the freshest trail in pursuit and only when he reached outside the city did he finally confirm that the West Gate Granny had already left Jiaping city.
Li Qingshan gazed at the mountain peak, at the black hawk forged from mental. He smiled. Zhuo Zhibo, the pills on you should be able to assist me in reaching the second layer of the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength!