Chapter 207 – The Nine Layers Complete
Despite being rejected at the entrance, Yu Shukuang was not particularly annoyed. Instead, he admired Li Qingshan even more. He had already learnt from Yu Zijian that the foolish bird that flew in and then flew back out was a sixth layer Qi Practitioner.
He became stunned for a very long time when he heard that. Just what did sixth layer Qi Practitioners represent? It was completely beyond his imaginations. He had heard that with a thought and a sweep of their flying sword, they could behead first-rate masters like him.
Yet, someone like that had failed to even withstand a single strike from Li Qingshan before being tossed down. He had even become too afraid to look back. It filled Yu Shukuang with questions.
Just how did Li Qingshan train with how young he was? Was he the illegitimate son of some great clan? Or was he a secret disciple of some cultivation sect?
Even until now, his fantasies still ran wild, but he was unable to make sense of it. All he knew was how lucky he was to be able to establish ties with someone so important.
“Father, I just feel that great hero Niu seems somewhat familiar, as if I’ve seen him somewhere.” Yu Zijian’s face reddened slightly when she said that.
Yu Shukuang was shocked instead. He laughed dryly. “How’s that possible? It must’ve been a false impression!” Li Qingshan had specially reminded him to keep Yu Zijian in the dark about his actual identity. Why would he be bold enough to disobey him now?
Yu Zijian frowned. “Really?”
Yu Shukuang said suddenly, “Let’s go see your mother!”
What happened yesterday unearthed many of the matters that he had buried in his heart many years ago. He had wanted to do this ever since then. However, it was very late at night when all the guests finally left. He had managed to slight all the curious, probing gazes from them.
Yu Zijian agreed gently.
Stepping through the snow, the two of them arrived in the east of the city. Under a beautiful hill was a small grave. It was regularly cleaned and swept, and there were new offerings on it right now. All of this was obviously due to Yu Shukuang’s arrangements.
But today, someone was kneeling in front of the grave with their chest held high. His magnificent, silken robes had been reduced to a mess by mud and blood, but he did not seem to notice it.
“Ma Chaoqun!” Yu Shukuang frowned. As it turned out, he was still here. How had he gotten hold of this place?
Yu Zijian gripped the hilt of her sword and secretly raised her guard. Even she had failed to notice that she was now very different from before.
Ma Chaoqun turned around stiffly. His face was pale, and his lips were dark. When he saw Yu Zijian, his eyes seem to light up, and he murmured, “Zi’er!” Although he had managed to avoid being hit in his vital spots by the Metal Crescent Slash, it had still heavily injured him. He did not tend to his wounds either. All he wanted to do was to die here.
Yu Zijian said worriedly, “I’m not Zi’er. You’d better tend to your wounds, or you’ll really die like this!”
Although she had grown to understand now, change would not happen in a single day. The kindness she possessed would linger.
Ma Chaoqun made out her face clearly and smiled self-deprecatingly like a dead man. His hatred from all these years had vanished in a single day. He no longer had the strength to live.
Yu Shukuang said coldly, “If you want to die, go die somewhere else. Don’t die here!”
Ma Chaoqun’s eyes coldened, and he pressed down on the hilt of his blade.
Yu Zijian called out, “Father!”
Yu Shukuang pushed Yu Zijian aside and roared, “Just why did she have to grow up with trash like you by her side?!”
“You’re looking to die!” Ma Chaoqun drew his blade with a swish. His face was murderous.
Yu Zijian blocked Yu Shukuang and said anxiously, “Don’t you understand? My mother doesn’t wish for you to be like this. If you die and she finds out in the afterlife, she’ll be heartbroken.”
These words seemed to possess wondrous magic when Yu Zijian said them. Ma Chaoqun was stunned. “I…”
Yu Zijian persuaded softly, “You have to keep living. Only then will my mother rest in peace.”
Mao Chaoqun’s eyes gradually drooped down. “G- girl, you’re… right.” Suddenly, he reversed his grip on his blade and stabbed his own leg before wrenching the blade out. He became even paler.
Yu Zijian covered her mouth to stifle her scream. All she heard was Ma Chaoqun say, “I said many crazy things to you yesterday. Just treat this as my apology. Hehe, someone like me deserves death in the first place to have ever fantasized about her. However, I can’t keep dragging her down like this. I’ll make do and keep living.”
Yu Zijian understood that his extreme personality was unchangeable. She sighed gently. “You might look a little different from others, but what’s inside is always more important than your appearance. You will definitely find a woman who loves you from the bottom of her heart.”
Ma Chaoqun only sneered. All the women in this world liked handsome men. With his current cultivation, there were plenty of beautiful women by his side, but they only liked his money and power. Aside from her, no one had ever treated him with sincerity.
“Even if you just can’t get over it, I’ve heard that the path of cultivation has many wondrous methods that can heal one’s face.”
Ma Chaoqun’s expression gradually changed. There was some light in his eyes now. Suddenly, he turned around and left. He gazed at the grave deeply, as if he wanted to memorise every single word on it. After that, he limped away into the distance.
Yu Zijian could not help but let out a sigh of relief. She smiled. She knew her persuasion had been effective.
However, she failed to hear Ma Chaoqun murmur to himself, “The path of cultivation has many wondrous methods. There’ll definitely be one that can save you!”
The tiny sliver of hope landed in his exhausted, despaired heart that had already run dry; this hope like a seed. However, he was just a member of the very bottom of the cultivation world. Even if there were methods that could revive the dead, they would not be something a mere second layer Qi Practitioner could come in contact with.
However, the extreme obsessions and unbelievable fantasies of humans were the source of their power.
Yu Shukuang watched on as Ma Chaoqun gradually travelled into the distance. He was lonely too. He turned towards the tiny grave. “Zi’er, do you see? He’s still alive, so don’t feel so bad!”
In his mind, he thought about what the woman would say, Even if senior brother Ma has many flaws, he has always been extremely nice to me. I can’t let him down.
He could not help but sigh softly. “Only if I hadn’t been saved by you, left to die outside Salt Mountain city.”
Yu Zijian seemed to read his thoughts. She said loudly, “Mother must have liked you, father. I believe she didn’t marry you because she had no other choice.”
Yu Shukuang smiled and rubbed Yu Zijian’s head. “Perhaps, but she could never forgive herself.” Although she was no longer with them, she had given him the best present he could ever receive. He made up his mind. He had to get that Innate pill from Li Qingshan, no matter what it took. He was still not old yet. He could still take care of her.
Thinking up to that point, he suddenly said earnestly, “I’ve always been afraid to tell you this, but most of those stories where I upheld justice and helped the weak were false.”
“Ah!” Yu Zijian was utterly shocked. She took a step back and looked at Yu Shukuang in disbelief.
Yu Shukuang coughed gently to cover up his awkwardness. “I just want to tell you that good people don’t have it easy in this world. You need to be a little more clever and a little worse of a person.”
“Hmph, you liar. I’ll never be a baddie.”
“Just treat it like your father is begging you to.”
“No! You liar!”
Yu Shukuang said, “Even I, your father, would lie to you, so who else wouldn’t lie to you?”
Yu Zijian was taken aback, but she suddenly smiled mysteriously. “Father, I don’t blame you.”
Yu Zijian said seriously, “You might have been lying to me, but that was so I could uphold justice as a hero. It’s still a good deed!”
This time, Yu Shukuang was the one surprised. He knew his own daughter the best. Since when was she so inflexible?
Yu Zijian smiled complacently. I want to be a good person.
Deep underground, the flowers bloomed, and the butterflies danced in the sea of flowers.
The large, stone platform flickered with a magnificent colour.
Li Qingshan shuddered all over. Heavy, ice-cold spiritual qi directly rushed into the Fengchi acupoint on the back of his head, into his Yin and Yang Heel meridians. The meridians that originally still had some empty space were now filled with pure spiritual qi of the world. It was to the point that his meridians ached slightly.
If it were not for the fact that his body as a daemon was extremely tough, this would have been enough to sever his meridians. He began to use the Innate Method of Practising Qi instinctively, wanting to transform the spiritual qi into true qi, but he failed.
There was just too much spiritual qi, such that he could not even do something as simple as mobilising it. The aching from his meridians became more and more intense, but he was unable to feel it at all.
His daemon core began to revolve automatically. It shone brightly, absorbing the spiritual qi to its heart’s content while suppressing the other spiritual qi.
Finally, the Innate Method of Practising Qi began to operate, refining the spiritual qi strand by strand into true qi. The sumeru ring on his finger came into use as well, purifying the true qi further.
The pure true qi pulsed like water. With every breath, it would undergo new growth, increasing at a terrifying rate. This was even faster than when regular Qi Practitioners ingested Qi Gathering pills.
Here was a cultivator who could absorb the spiritual qi of the world whilst still a Qi Practitioner. Moreover, he was on an extremely precious spiritual stone vein and possessed a sumeru ring that only Golden Core cultivators would own. Together, they resulted in extraordinary cultivation speed.
In less than four hours, Li Qingshan trembled once more. He had reached the eighth layer with the Innate Method of Practising Qi. The flow of his true qi immediately sped up slightly, and the quantity had increased drastically too.
However, he continued to cultivate. Time passed by bit by bit.
There was no perception of time in the darkness. When Li Qingshan opened his eyes again and introspected his body, he discovered that the Innate Method of Practising Qi had finally reached completion. It had reached the ninth layer. He had reached the peak of the third layer of Qi Practitioner now. This was the first cultivation method he had managed to complete, which gave him a faint sense of satisfaction. He wanted to share this good news with someone.
When he looked at Milliped beside him, he found that he was still snoring away. He seemed to be at great ease, as if he could set aside everything in his sleep. Though, he never had anything that pestered his mind anyway.
For once, Xiao An was asleep too, curled up on the stone platform. As it seemed, the spiritual stone vein was extremely beneficial to her too.
Li Qingshan did not want to alarm them. He raised his right hand and looked at his huge, dark hand. Every time his strength increased, it would make him more confident, making him want to grasp everything. If he used the Cursive Sword Calligraphy to launch a sneak attack now, he might actually be able to heavily injure a ninth layer Qi Practitioner, with no need to transform. He could deal with many more problems whilst maintaining his human identity now.