Chapter 166 – Finally
Spiritual stones were basically the item that possessed the most stable price among cultivators. Qi Gathering pills could not compare to it. Only low level Black Wolf guards like him would receive Qi Gathering pills as a salary. Zhuo Zhibo and Zhou Wenbin both earned spiritual stones. To stronger cultivators, low level Qi Gathering pills provided no benefit at all. They could even lead to detriments. However, they could always keep using the pure spiritual qi contained within spiritual stones.
There were many uses to spiritual stones. They could be used in forging artifacts, formations, mechanisms, and so on. The puppet that Li Qingshan gave Xiao An was powered by spiritual stones as well. The most common use for spiritual stones was to constantly provide true qi during battle.
Right now, Li Qingshan mostly engaged in close combat, so he did not need it too much, but once he made it to the sixth layer and could wield artifacts, a few extra spiritual stones would be equivalent to an extra life.
Li Qingshan had only taken out these spiritual stones after considering his current needs. A bird in hand was worth two in the bush. Many times, short-term benefit would surpass long-term benefit.
Seeing how Li Qingshan had no objections, Zhou Wenbin was obviously willing to make the trade. In the end, he took out eight bottles of Qi Gathering pills. Each bottle held twelve pills, amounting to almost a hundred. He exchanged them for the spiritual stones in Li Qingshan’s possession, basically relieving Li Qingshan’s urgent needs.
For the next few days, Li Qingshan would stroll around randomly with Xiao An in the city aside from cultivating in his dwelling. He bought everything she liked for her.
However, his infamy as the Tiger Butcher had spread through Jiaping city as well. It was so significant that it could basically clean the streets. No matter how busy it was, as long as he walked over, someone would cry out, “The Tiger Butcher is here!” In the blink of an eye, the street would be cleaned out, leaving behind a single child in the middle of the street crying. When he walked past the kid, the child would even stop crying, becoming stunned from fright.
Whenever he entered a store to buy something, the shopkeeper would always firmly refuse to take any money from him.
Zhou Wenbin sent people to invite him over once again, telling him to not roam the streets so casually. Otherwise, he would not alarm the citizens of Jiaping.
Afterwards, all that was left in Li Qingshan’s life was cultivation. He would meditate and train in his small residence every day. Fortunately, he was accompanied by Xiao An, so he was not lonely. However, he ate the Qi Gathering pills at a rapid pace. He would basically eat over a dozen, up to twenty, every single day, and that was when he was holding back. If he wanted to, he could have polished them all off in a single day. His body was basically like a bottomless hole.
As a result, he also became a regular visitor of the government office.
Li Qingshan said in a loud, clear voice, “Sir, look at this bottle of Pills of Calming. They’re high grade pills that only the Sect of Clouds and Rain can refine. When you consume them while cultivating, it can calm your mind and bring you great benefit. And look at these Pills of Passion. When you use them in bed, it’ll amplify the experience.” He raised his eyebrows and made an expression that all men understood.
After some consideration, Zhou Wenbin used four bottles of Qi Gathering pills to exchange for them, which made Li Qingshan overjoyed.
Three days later, at noon, Zhou Wenbin sat in front of a pill cauldron to refine pills. Ever since he became the district magistrate, he had constantly made people gather medicinal herbs for him so he could refine pills. As a result, he ended up with many Qi Gathering pills. He was preparing to get rid of them in a cultivator’s market when it was appropriate, but Li Qingshan’s arrival had saved him some trouble. It put him in a good mood. He needed to work harder on refining pills.
A maidservant reported, “Sir, that sir Li has come to visit again. He’s waiting for you in the guest room.”
Zhou Wenbin found this to be rather strange. Why did Li Qingshan come to visit him again? When he arrived in the waiting room, he saw that the long table in the room was piled full with a wide assortment of items. It was like a small stall that sold miscellaneous items, and the stall owner was Li Qingshan behind the table.
“Please take a look, sir. These were all gifts to Qian Yannian when he was celebrating his birthday. You can tell with a single glance that these spiritual herbs are teeming with spiritual qi, so they must be wondrous for refining pills. And look at these jade statues. Aren’t they life-like? If you like them, You can take them all. I’ll give you a discount.”
Under Li Qingshan’s silver-tongued persuasion and the fact that their past dealing had always been rather pleasant, Zhou Wenbin took out a few more bottles of Qi Gathering pills and bought everything.
A few more days passed, and Zhou Wenbin sat in front of Li Qingshan once again.
Zhou Wenbin said, “We’ll just be drinking tea and talking today. Don’t even think about mentioning Qi Gathering pills.”
Li Qingshan was taken aback. After a moment of hesitation, he stifled his voice and said, “Sir, do you want talismans?”
Zhou Wenbin finally could not help himself anymore. He asked, “What do you need so many Qi Gathering pills for? It’s not like you can eat Qi Gathering pills like regular meals! The amount of Qi Gathering pills you have received from me is enough to last you for three years!”
Li Qingshan was unable to explain that he actually was able to eat Qi Gathering pills like regular meals. He could only say, “I just want to save up a reserve, to be on the safe side.”
Zhou Wenbin said, “The path of cultivation mainly depends on yourself. At the end of the day, pills are just items external to you. They can only assist…”
Li Qingshan agreed to his words, but he thought inside that if it were not for all those pills Xuanyue had provided to him, how was he supposed to condense a daemon core so quickly? If he did not use these items external to him, it would take him a century at the very least to become a Daemon General.
After Zhou Wenbin finished talking, Li Qingshan asked again, “Do you really not want them?”
Zhou Wenbin sighed and shook his head firmly. As the district magistrate, it had been many years since he had fought against someone. He had no need for talismans at all.
Xiao An squatted by the wall outside the government office and played around with the ants using a twig.
Whenever Li Qingshan made deals with Zhou Wenbin, she would wait outside. Whenever other people tried to talk to her, she would just ignore them.
Under a great aspen tree, a nest of red ants and a nest of black ants engaged in an intense war. Who knows how many of them were inside the dense swarm. While the red ants were smaller, they were extremely fierce and possessed the upper hand.
Xiao An watched with great concentration. The warm sunlight of autumn landed on her face and seemed to penetrate her tender skin. As she saw how the black ant army was about to collapse, the twig in her hand suddenly turned into a blur.
“Little sister, what are you doing here all by yourself?” A smiling scoundrel squatted beside Xiao An and asked with malicious intent.
Xiao An did not even raise her head. The scoundrel saw how no one was around, so he suddenly lifted up Xiao An and carried her away on his shoulder.
Xiao An did not put up any resistance. Her hair and hands draped down as she continued to hold the twig in her hand. She stared at the ant nest nearby.
The scoundrel quickly boarded a carriage, and the carriage took off. He was overjoyed. He had earned three hundred taels of silver from doing this. The task that his boss gave him was as simple as it could get. Although it was possible for him to offend the Tiger Butcher, no one would know that he was responsible.
However, as he had placed all of his attention onto Xiao An, he failed to realise that the war between the ants under the great elm tree had suddenly ended. The outcome was that all of the red ants were dead.
At that moment, the twig had stabbed out thousands of times, stabbing all of the red ants to death, without even touching a single black ant. Not even an antennae.
The carriage sped down the street and made a sharp turn into a dwelling. The scoundrel carried Xiao An down the carriage. “Boss, I got her!”
Several men drank together with their chests bare. They all stood up. “So fast!”
“Whenever I, Speedy-hands Xiao Zhang, strike, how can I not be fast? Though, it sure was strange. This kid did not even cry or call out along the way.”
“She’s probably a mute!”
“I think she’s just a simpleton. Who knows where the Tiger Butcher got her from. Though, she sure is pretty. Don’t tell me that that bastard has a thing for children like this!”
The laughter suddenly stopped. They had not even sensed the arrival of death. Their expressions stiffened, and in the next moment, they turned into flames.
A while later, Ge Jian entered the small courtyard in casual wear and said in confusion, “Where’d they all go?”
By now, Xiao An had already returned to the entrance of the government office. She held the same twig as before as she squatted below the great elm tree. The dense swarm of black ants had still not dispersed. The twig blurred once more.
The small disturbance under the great elm tree was broken up. All of the black ants were dead as well.
Xiao An seemed to sense something, and she suddenly raised her head.
“That’s all not a problem!” Zhou Wenbin personally accompanied Li Qingshan to the entrance of the government office. After some thought, he took out another two bottles of Qi Gathering pills from his hundred treasures pouch and shoved them into Li Qingshan’s hands. He said sincerely, “Qingshan, I’m just giving them to you as a friend. If you don’t have anything to do, go for a stroll on the streets. Give me some peace!”
The autumn breeze swept up the fallen leaves, drifting past Li Qingshan. No one understood the pains of dual cultivation as a human and a daemon!
Xiao An tossed aside her twig, ran over, and grabbed him by his hand.
Li Qingshan smiled at her and shook what was in his hands. “Let’s go back. I got my hands on another two bottles!”
In the Hawkwolf Guard, Ge Jian reported, “Commander, the kid has been a frequent visitor of Zhou Wenbin lately. During noon earlier today, Zhou Wenbin personally accompanied him to the entrance of the government office. Everyone saw it. It’s just like what I said. If the kid had no one to rely on, he would never be so haughty.”
“And regarding the little girl he brought back, I’ve investigated her as well. We have no idea about her origins. She seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Her name is Xiao An, and she sticks to Li Qingshan like glue. I’ve already sent people to grab her, but for some reason, they failed to do so. If we don’t make a response and remain silent the entire time, people will probably look down on us!”
Zhuo Zhibo said, “Hmph, Zhou Wenbin, am I supposed to be afraid of you? Don’t worry, the kid will die soon. I would like to see how Zhou Wenbin will protect him. Go summon him over right now.”
Ge Jian’s face lit up. “Commander, you’ve come up with an idea?”
In the residence, various items were scattered across the ground messily. Li Qingshan had emptied out his entire hundred treasures pouch and was now searching through everything carefully. “What else is there? What else is there that I can exchange?” He behaved like a gambler who had lost everything, flipping through his own house in search of any last objects that were worth money so that he could attempt a comeback.
Xiao An squatted beside him and leaned on his hand, looking at Li Qingshan in pity. She tried to think of ways that she could help him, and in a moment of inspiration, she patted Li QIngshan’s shoulder and pointed at her own chest.
“You have an idea?”
Xiao An nodded and smiled. As it turned out, the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty could also refine pills aside from forging artifacts. Of course, the materials for that were still the flesh and blood of people.
Li Qingshan said after careful consideration. “I just can’t bring myself to practise cannibalism.” And, if he held another massacre, it would definitely give them away. He saw how Xiao An became rather gloomy, so he pinched her cheek. “But thank you.”
Suddenly, someone knocked on the door. Opening the door, he saw Ge Jian. “Commander Zhuo summons you.” Although he seemed completely normal, he gave off a heavy sense of complacency.
“Alright.” Li Qingshan frowned and lowered his head, answering him in a seemingly unwilling manner. However, joy flashed through his eyes. Finally!