Chapter 213 – Safe and Sound
Li Qingshan struggled to believe his eyes. He had already thought of many predicaments Yu Zijiang could potentially be going through, such as carrying several hundred kilograms of firewood on her shoulders as she trudged through the snowy path. Or, perhaps she would be looking in the direction of her home sadly.
As for her father, Yu Shukuang, his imaginations probably ran a hundred times wilder.
However, not only did Yu Zijian face no hardships right now, but she was even smiling happily instead.
She was strolling through the streets happily with a few Qi Practitioners. The Qi Practitioners varied in gender and strength, but they all wore green robes. Their collars and cuffs were all embroidered with green vines.
Li Qingshan had seen that disciple Liu who had come out to run errands before, so he knew that this was the uniform of the Green Vine mountain.
Yu Zijian was among them. While they were not exactly following her around, he could tell that everyone liked her very much. They introduced the various strange products on the sides of the streets to her patiently.
Apart from changing her twin buns to a hairstyle more befitting of a female cultivator, she basically had not changed at all. She did not seem like she was suffering abuse at all.
Yu Zijian felt that someone was looking at her. She turned around and noticed Li Qingshan’s colossal figure that stuck out like a sore thumb immediately. Her small mouth hung open from surprise before all of it turned into joy. She called out, “Niu Juxia!” Everyone on the streets looked over.
She jogged over to Li Qingshan. “Why have you come? Where’s my father? Has he come too?” As she said that, she looked around Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan said, “Your father hasn’t come. I’ve come to see you. You’re… still well, right?” As long as he had not gone blind, she seemed to be doing rather well.
“Yep, yep!” Yu Zijian nodded.
“Zijian, is this your friend?” A few Qi Practitioners made their way over as well. The leader of them was a young man, a sixth layer Qi Practitioner, who asked in surprise.
Yu Zijian glanced at Li Qingshan first, as if she wanted to confirm that she was his friend. Seeing how he did not object, she smiled boldly. “Yeah!” After that, she glanced at him again to see if he was angered by that or not.
Why would Li Qingshan decline having such a cute girl as a friend?!
Yu Zijian introduced everybody. Only then did Li Qingshan learn that the leading sixth layer Qi Practitioner was called Mu Zhicong. Although he behaved in a rather modest manner, he gave off a natural sense of superiority. It did not just come from his superior strength, but his pride and arrogance as a member of a sect. The three companions beside him gave Li Qingshan roughly the same feeling.
This sense of superiority was beneficial to their sect instead of being detrimental. It proved that they held the three words, ‘Green Vine mountain’ on a very high pedestal, which was why they took pride in their sect.
Yu Zijian felt that introducing him as Niu Er was rather inappropriate, so she just said, “This is Niu Juxia!”
The disciples of the Green Vine mountain mistook that for Li Qingshan’s name. They thought, That’s a rather strange name, but it does seem to be rather befitting of his figure.
Mu Zhicong recalled something. He asked in surprise, “Are you that Niu Juxia who tossed Song Ming over the wall in a single stroke?!”
Li Qingshan smiled and admitted to it. He knew that Song Ming referred to the senior brother Song. The news had spread pretty quickly. Unbeknownst to him, although the three mountains were in an alliance, they also competed against one another. The humiliating matters among the disciples would spread the fastest. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for Liu Fengrui to have visited the Proud Sword manor so quickly.
The disciples of the Green Vine mountain immediately treated Li Qingshan with deep esteem. A grin of white teeth appeared on his face that was as dark as the bottom of a pot. It seemed rather mysterious.
The only female disciple there, Cheng Jiali, probed curiously, “May I ask which mountain you happen to cultivate on? And what is your current cultivation?”
Li Qingshan smiled. “I was naturally endowed with tremendous strength, and I came across a cultivation method for Body Practitioners by chance in the mountains. In terms of cultivation, I’m nowhere close to fellow Mu.”
Independent cultivator, Body Practitioner.
They rapidly summarised these two phrases from what Li Qingshan had told them, and their attitude changed once again. They recovered their faint sense of superiority as disciples of an orthodox sect.
Body Practitioners in the world of cultivation were like practitioners of external martial arts in the jianghu. They would always be looked down upon. Of course, practising both internal and external martial arts was a method that existed as well. However, to them, Li Qingshan clearly did not fall into that category, and he was an independent cultivator without a sect. He was no different from a blade of grass in the wind. People from sects would pressure and abuse him often.
While Li Qingshan did stand tall, he was already lower than them in their hearts.
In particular, the displeasure that Mu Zhicong felt from how familiar Yu Zijian behaved with Li Qingshan had basically completely vanished. While he was quite strong, he was just a martial artist who used brute force. If his cultivation as a Qi Practitioner could not develop any further, it was useless no matter how powerful he was. He was so ugly as well. To think that I had compared myself to him. I sure have underestimated myself.
Li Qingshan could clearly sense the changes in their attitude. He maintained his smile and lamented about the fickleness of the world slightly, but he did not take this too seriously. Temporarily accommodating for people was common in human relationships. There was nothing for him to be displeased about.
However, this was all because Li Qingshan was strong enough and confident enough. Otherwise, it would lead to some ill will. The breadth of mind of people would be directly tied to their strength. When weaker people wanted to be broadminded, it was just self-consolation most of the time.
“I’ve come to see her in place of her father. She was taken away forcefully by a senior brother of yours called Liu. You have no idea how worried her father was.” Li Qingshan indirectly asked them a question. This child sure was heartless, having a good time right now. However, her decisions were not for him to make.
“Are you talking about senior brother Liu? Master has already scolded him.” The young man frowned slightly. He was slightly displeased by Li Qingshan’s question.
Li Qingshan became even more surprised. Although he had only seen this senior brother Liu once, he should have been a powerful Qi Practitioner who had already split open his sea of qi. Just what fortunes did this girl possess to make the sect master of the Green Vine mountain scold his own disciple?
Li Qingshan could tell that these people could not be reasoned with. He glanced at a teahouse on one side, which was rather quiet and tasteful inside. Then he checked the sign on the door, which detailed ‘Tranquil Teahouse’. It really did live up to its name. There were not a lot of people in there at all. It was very tranquil.
“Here’s not a place to talk. Let’s go in there and have some tea. I’ll ask Zijian some things for the sake of her father.”
This was the first time Yu Zijian had heard him call her directly by her name. She felt strange inside. Then she thought about how he had specially come to check up on her, and her heart warmed up. Her ears reddened slightly as she pinched the edge of her clothing, unsure of what to say. All she thought of was, Niu Juxia sure is a great person!
This was the first time Mu Zhicong had seen Yu Zijian like this, and the flames of envy lit up in his heart for some reason. He asked with a strange smile, “Are you inviting us in there for tea?” After receiving Li Qingshan’s confirmation, he and his companions looked at one another. They all smiled strangely.
Li Qingshan entered the teahouse and learned why they were smiling, as well as why the teahouse was so tranquil. A few bamboo signs hung on the wall on the west side, detailing the prices.
Even the cheapest pot of tea cost seven spiritual stones, while the most expensive one was over twenty spiritual stones. Were there any Qi Practitioners who would come drink tea with their spiritual stones instead of spending it on pills for cultivation or talismans for protection?
There were no waiters or waitresses in this store, only the shop owner. He was a spirited old man with pepper hair. He also happened to be the tea brewer. He did not even raise his head when Li Qingshan and the others entered. A few curtains divided the teahouse into a few rooms. There seemed to be people talking in there, but it was quiet. Clearly, this was due to the effects of formations as well.
Li Qingshan said, “Tsk, this tea is not cheap!”
Yu Zijian pulled Li Qingshan towards the outside. “It’s too expensive, so let’s go elsewhere. There’s a steamed bun store on the corner of the street. They use the venison of three-coloured deer for their fillings.”
Three disciples of the Green Vine mountain added with smiles, “Yeah, there’s nothing great about the tea here!”
None of them were surprised. Independent cultivators were basically synonymous with broke. They did not even have enough money to buy pills, so why would he have money to invite them to the famous tea of the Tranquil teahouse? They obviously did not have a lot of ill will behind this, but it would always be rather funny when a bumpkin embarrassed themself.
It was obviously impossible for this group of people to scamper out of the store like this. Naturally, a generous and straightforward man would save the situation.
Mu Zhicong said, “The Tranquil teahouse is renowned in the world of cultivation. Being able to try their fine tea is one of the greatest joys that life can offer. Since we’ve come, let’s stay. Since it’s Zijian’s friend who has come to the Green Vine mountain, I should be the one to play the host.”
Li Qingshan had not even heard of the renowned Tranquil Teahouse before, so he was obviously ignorant.
Cheng Jiali glanced at Mu Zhicong in an infatuated manner. “Then we’ll be forcing senior brother to go to some expenses today. Zijian, why don’t you thank senior brother? Let alone people from remote areas, but even we don’t enjoy something so extravagant often.”
Li Qingshan could sense Cheng Jiali’s hostility towards Yu Zijian. She was clearly trying to say that Yu Zijian was a bumpkin just like him. This was the troublesome aspect of humans. Daemons directed their hostility at the individual, while humans hid it all in their hearts.
Yu Zijian just happened to miss what she was implying. She said in embarrassment, “Thank you, senior brother Mu. Actually, I’ve been curious to try what something so expensive would taste like. Let’s get the Cloudmist tea!”
The Cloudmist tea was the cheapest tea here. Naive, straightforward women were already rare, let alone those that were also kind-hearted and considerate. She seemed to possess both her mother and her father’s merits. The more that they got to know her, the more they found her to be loveable and worth protecting.
Mu Zhicong’s gaze became softer. “We’ll drink whatever you want, Zijian.”
Cheng Jiali’s smile stiffened slightly, while the other two disciples looked at her in a somewhat mocking manner.
Li Qingshan snickered inside. This was like a clash between a third-rate master and a powerful Qi Practitioner. Right off the bat, Cheng Jiali had suffered a crushing defeat.
While Cheng Jiali possessed some beauty about her, she lacked the charm that could touch people. She was like a song that had been sung along all the rules and standards of singing. While there was nothing wrong with it, people could go without listening to it. However, the singing of certain people could touch the hearts of people.
Just when Mu Zhicong wanted to tell the tea brewer their order, he was stopped by Li Qingshan. He grinned. “We might come from a remote place, but we can still afford to drink some tea, right, Zijian?”
Only then did Yu Zijian suddenly understand what Cheng Jiali was trying to say. She frowned. “Exactly!” She was irate. You can look down on me, but how can you look down on Niu Juxia?