Chapter 184 – Lofty Ambitions
Li Qingshan’s eyes narrowed as the muscles in his arms shifted. He unleashed his explosive strength and produced a crack.
The man suddenly widened his eyes. What happened next became extremely simple. Li Qingshan moved repetitively, and a series of cracks rang out. He crushed all of the joints of the man’s limbs. As soon as the man wanted to call out, Li Qingshan grabbed him by the neck and silenced him.
True qi swept up the hundred treasures pouch on the side into Li Qingshan’s hand. Without their hundred treasures pouches, most Qi Practitioners were like fangless tigers. If their limbs were crippled as well, they would even be like paralyzed tigers.
It was so simple that it surprised Li Qingshan slightly. However, as long as a Qi Practitioner still had a strand of true qi in their dantian or sea of qi, they could not be considered as truly subdued. He was prepared for what would happen next as well, but all he saw was the man’s face twist in pain. Then his true qi scattered chaotically, like he had lost the ability to fight back. Li Qingshan was rather taken aback by this.
Qi Practitioners like Zhuo Zhibo could still gather their true qi even if they were stabbed with swords or blades. Of course, Zhuo Zhibo would have never fallen for such a simple sneak attack in the first place. Even if he failed to sense any auras or hear any sounds, just his instincts for danger alone were enough to stave off everything.
However, as the son of a vice sect master, this man had been pampered his entire life. He had only ever been treated gently. Never had he been abused in such a violent manner, nor had he experienced such pain before. He was in so much pain that he forgot about everything. The Immobilisation talisman lasted a little longer before being destroyed by the scattered true qi.
Before Li Qingshan could do anything, Qian Rongzhi had already pulled out a metal pillory, locking it around the man’s neck and hands.
The pillory glowed with light. It was actually a low grade spiritual artifact; moreover, it was an extremely rare one for capturing enemies. A black hawk was depicted on the top. Its pair of talons grabbed the man’s hands, while it held the man’s head in its beak. Li Qingshan could tell with a single glance that it came from the Hawkwolf Guard. Without a doubt, Qian Rongzhi had obtained it from Zhuo Zhibo.
The man’s chaotic true qi became even less threatening after being locked up in the hawk pillory. Afterwards, his eyes rolled backwards, actually fainting from the pain.
This left Li Qingshan rather stunned. This was the first time that he had realised that the strength of Qi Practitioners could not be described through simple numbers like the fifth or sixth layer. Willpower, temperament, and reaction were all crucial elements as well.
If this man was sufficiently prepared, he could probably unleash the strength that corresponded to a sixth layer Qi Practitioner. Perhaps he might have been able to kill Qi Practitioners of the same level using trump cards from his father, but if anything happened suddenly, his actual ability would be exposed. He was utterly useless.
Qian Rongzhi said, “Take him below!”
In the underground palace, Li Qingshan tossed the naked man with a pillory into an empty, stone room. Even without spiritual artifacts, sixth layer Qi Practitioners could still control objects around them, so he could still cause some trouble.
The man woke up from the pain. He was quite handsome, but his face was pale and utterly twisted. He roared in surprise and fury, “Qian Rongzhi, what are you doing? Y- you’re Li Qingshan!” He had seen Li Qingshan’s portrait before he had set off for here.
Li Qingshan said, “You’re from the Sect of Clouds and Rain, aren’t you?”
The man said, “I’m Wei Yingjie. My father is a vice sect master of the Sect of Clouds and Rain. If you have some wits about you, hurry up and release me. I might spare your life.”
“What! Vice sect master! Qian Rongzhi, you tricked me! You’ve actually made me offend such an important figure!” Li Qingshan was startled. He showed fear as he said politely, “Young sect master, what brings you to Jiaping city?”
Wei Yingjie saw how Li Qingshan was afraid, so he said in an even more arrogant manner, “Release me, and then offer up that child with the Aspect of Heavenly Fragrance and Beauty by your side…”
The fear on Li Qingshan’s face vanished. He exhaled. “Looks like I’ve got the right person.” Qian Rongzhi was not telling the complete truth, but it was not far from it either. However, this bastard was basically the weakest sixth layer Qi Practitioner Li Qingshan had ever seen. Li Qingshan was truly clueless as to how he had managed to reach the sixth layer with his level of intelligence.
Qian Rongzhi smiled. “What an idiot!”
Wei Yingjie seemed to realise something, “Qian Rongzhi, you traitor! Release me, or my father will never spare you! Ouch!” He struggled so another wave of pain hit him from his crushed joints. He collapsed onto the ground, now afraid to move any further.
Qian Rongzhi completely ignored him. She said to Li Qingshan, “Let’s see what’s in the hundred treasures pouch.”
After checking the hundred treasures pouch, he discovered that there were not a lot of Qi Gathering pills in there. There were only five hundred. However, there were quite a few spiritual stones, amounting to over three hundred. There were actually two mid grade spiritual artifacts as well. One was a flying sword that could be controlled, while the other was a ring that seemed like a wristguard.
There were several dozen talismans in there as well, along with a rare high grade talisman. Li Qingshan was extremely familiar with the inscription on it. It was a Strength Talisman of the Guardian Kings, but the inscription was several times more complicated than the ones he had previously seen. As it seemed, this was the life-saving measure his father had given to him.
However, this was not the first time Li Qingshan had seen a naked disciple of the Sect of Clouds and Rain either. Even if you have countless techniques and methods hidden in your hundred treasures pouch, it would be useless if you don’t have your hundred treasures pouch.
According to their deal, Li Qingshan gave the Major Method of Clouds and Rain to Qian Rongzhi.
Qian Rongzhi immediately flipped through it. She had joined the Sect of Clouds and Rain recently, so all she had learnt so far were some rules and commandments of the sect. She needed to wait some time before going through a test, and only then would she receive the sect’s legacy. However, in less than two hours just now, she had managed to assemble both cultivation methods, the Minor and Major Methods of Clouds and Rain, finding a path that led to the very top among Qi Practitioners.
Li Qingshan found over a dozen bottles of Pills of Passion and Pills of Calming. He gave these pills that were for cultivation in the Sect of Clouds and Rain to Qian Rongzhi.
Qian Rongzhi accepted it all while smiling from ear to ear. When Wei Yingjie saw the two of them split up his possessions right in front of him, he could not help but fly into a fury. Ignoring the pain, he let violent true qi surged out of his sea of qi, surging towards the two of them like a tidal wave. It whipped up a violent gale within the tiny stone room. He had managed all of this while being restrained by the hawk pillory, or it would have been even more impressive.
Qian Rongzhi pulled out her Water-splitting bard and swung down with it, cutting the true qi in half, which landed on the stone walls behind her. With a rustle, some dust and sand fell down from the ceiling.
Li Qingshan stood there without moving, allowing the true qi to strike him. His extremely pure true qi appeared outside of his body automatically, protecting him. Combined with his tough physique, he was unscathed.
If he could launch an attack with his arms or feet, it might have been somewhat threatening, but it was completely pointless now. Instead, it was a waste of true qi.
Li Qingshan suddenly pulled out another bottle of pills. “What’s this?”
Qian Rongzhi’s eyes lit up. “This is also a special pill from the Sect of Clouds and Rain. It’s a rare pill that can purify true qi.”
Li Qingshan said, “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll take it for myself if you tell me that?”
Qian Rongzhi answered with a question, “Will you?”
“I won’t.” Li Qingshan tossed the bottle of Pills of Spring Breeze and Rain to Qian Rongzhi. He did not do this just because of their agreement. His true qi had already been purified using the sumeru ring, so he had no need for the Pills of Spring Breeze and Rain.
Qian Rongzhi smiled sweetly. These Pills of Spring Breeze and Rain were an extremely important component to her plan.
“That’s why I’m willing to work with you. I might even end up helping you in the future. If you plan on dealing with the Sect of Clouds and Rain in the future, feel free to come find me. I’ll definitely lend you a helping hand. I’ll eat those leftovers with you.”
Li Qingshan suddenly even felt like she possessed a sense of open-mindedness that regular women rarely exhibited. She was vicious and her ambitions were lofty. Compared to those crooks who only concentrated on small profits, a person like her was hundreds of times more terrifying. Leftovers? She would never be willing to crawl on the ground forever. She was a venomous snake. She would climb upwards constantly, until she climbed into the sky, becoming a venomous dragon that could overturn the world.
He had a feeling that perhaps the Sect of Clouds and Rain would suffer the same fate as the Qian family, destroyed by this woman. Based on the logic that the enemy of the enemy is my friend, perhaps she really could help her, but he would never take a liking to someone like her. After splitting up the items, he shoved the hundred treasures pouch into his bosom and left without second thought. He did not want to spend a moment longer with this woman.
With Li Qingshan’s departure, Qian Rongzhi’s face eased up. She felt much more comfortable now. She sat down where she was and read through the two cultivation methods.
At this moment, Wei Yingjie also seemed to realise that he was completely at her mercy. He solicited, “Rongzhi, we’re seniors and juniors, so why must you do this to me? If you don’t want to be a courtesan, then you can just not be one. I’ll talk to my father about it.”
Aside from sending Qian Rongzhi back so that she could watch over Li Qingshan’s movements, the Sect of Clouds and Rain actually wanted her to replace courtesan Furong’s position. It was not exactly an intended insult. The women of the Sect of Cloud and Rain all required the vitality of men to cultivate. However, at the end of the day, this could still be regarded as a form of probing and testing. Most women would still be reluctant to end up in a brothel, living a life where they just slept with people. Only when she completely accepted the ideology of the Sect of Clouds and Rain would she receive their legacy.
Qian Rongzhi seemed rather noble and cold before Wei Yingjie, which made him believe that she had betrayed him because she was dissatisfied with this arrangement,
Qian Rongzhi did not even look at him. She said without the slightest care, “So what if I become a courtesan? Though, if I just rely on the vitality of normal men, and I have to be squeezed out by you, when am I supposed to achieve success?!” Within the Sect of Clouds and Rain, there was a dominant and submission relationship when it came to dual cultivation. The weaker person would definitely lose something in the process. If she followed the rules of others, she would be under the control of others for the rest of her life.
Wei Yingjie was stunned. He forced out a smile. “You think your cultivation will be too slow? I’ll get my father to allocate some pills to you. He’s responsible for everything in the sect.” However, all he thought of was how he would torture Qian Rongzhi once he had broken free. This was all just an act, but Qian Rongzhi paid no attention to his clumsy act either.
Qian Rongzhi said, “Yeah. If that old coot hadn’t handed the women in the sect to you as human cauldrons, giving you the best pills, how were you supposed to reach the sixth layer as the piece of trash that you are? I heard there’s quite a nice trick within the Method of Clouds and Rain… Found it! Looks like it’s true. Only by combining the two cultivation methods will it be complete.”
Wei Yingjie suddenly seemed to understand something. He became fear-stricken. “You’re planning to use the Vitality Devouring technique!” This was an extremely brutal and forceful technique. It was taboo within the Sect of Clouds and Rain. Zhao Liangqing had wanted to use it on those kidnapped girls before.
Dual cultivation was about mutual benefit. Even at its worst, it would be treating the other person as a human cauldron to harvest from, but that could lead to an overabundance of one element and not enough of the other as a result. However, the Vitality Devouring technique was just straightforward robbery. It would cause great harm to one party in the process, or even death. It was forbidden to be used, whether in the sect or outside of it.