Chapter 234 – Internal Conflict
However, what Qian Rongzhi thought was, This commander has just come from the Academy of the Hundred Schools, so he sure is naive. He actually treats the laws of the empire seriously. All laws are for people to use. Since when would anyone spare a plump lamb they come across?
The reason why she decided to be a good person for once was just because she was afraid the plump lamb would turn out to be a vicious tiger.
From the moment she laid eyes on him, she found Li Qingshan to be familiar. If she were Yu Zijian or Hua Chenglu, that was all he would be. They would not think too much about it.
It was exactly because Li Qingshan’s huge size was just too impressionable that they felt it was all just a false sense of familiarity. They felt like they would never forget about someone like him if they had met him before.
However, Qian Rongzhi’s thoughts went much deeper and finer. Although Li Qingshan was larger than before, the impression he had left on her was just too deep. This impression did not reside with his appearance alone.
The changes in his expression, the way he spoke, and the attitude he used to confront enemies all matched that man. Coupled with his glance that had paused on her momentarily, she drew a conclusion very soon that there was a good chance this was Li Qingshan.
After reaching this conclusion, how could she let the Hawkwolf guards continue opposing Li Qingshan? Li Qingshan possessed the strength to kill two ninth layer Qi Practitioners. Now that several months had passed since then, who knew how much stronger he had become. The reason why he had been putting up with all of this was just because he wanted to keep his trump card hidden.
If he was really forced to reveal his trump card, probably everyone present would have to be silenced. She did not believe she occupied any special spot in his heart.
Wu Gen was slightly displeased. This way, he would lose out on some potential gains, and he would not be able to redeem himself for the humiliation from earlier. As a Scarlet Wolf guard, he was not bold enough to twist justice before so many people. Otherwise, he probably would not be able to escape the punishment of law once someone reported him.
He said to Zhou Pei rather reluctantly, “You’ve done very well. You’ll definitely have a share of the contribution once you return!”
Zhou Pei said, “I don’t want the contribution. I just hope that you can relieve me of the duty as a Nighthawk so that I can return to being a regular Black Wolf guard.”
Wu Gen waved his hand impatiently. “Alright, I understand. I’ll report this to the higher-ups.” Then he said to Li Qingshan, “You can go.”
With a sweep of true qi, all of the hundred treasures pouches landed in Li Qingshan’s hand.
Wu Gen shot a glare at him. “Leave everything behind!” He extended a finger, and the metal chains extended like a huge python, wrapping around the entire hut and shaking it about. The hut creaked and clattered; he wanted to tear down the entire place.
The other commanders were hostile too. They carried out missions not just to uphold the law of the empire. The spoils of battle that the enemy possessed was an extremely important component of their income. How could they just watch someone else take it away?
Li Qingshan persevered. “These are my spoils of battle!”
Wu Gen said, “We have to confiscate these items of the White Lotus cult. It’s possible that they contain information on the other remnants of the White Lotus cult. I’d advise you to hand it over, or I’ll arrest you for withholding evidence!”
Li Qingshan smiled angrily. “I helped you complete your mission. Not only won’t you thank me, but you even plan on framing me as well?”
Wu Gen said, “Do you really think you’re worthy of being framed? Use your brain a little and get out of here, or the law will show no mercy!” The other commanders cooperated by unleashing their flying blades again.
Something seemed to surge in Li Qingshan’s chest. It was something he had repressed to the bottom of his heart the entire time. It growled and roared, wanting to break out.
Even if you want to act recklessly, there’s a limit to it. You idiots might want to die, but don’t drag me down with you! Qian Rongzhi lowered her head and frowned as she cursed inside, but she said nothing. Her words would have little effect in her current, lowly position, so it would be useless even if she tried. Instead, she would end up offending a great group of colleagues for nothing. If it really did reach that point, she had her ways of pulling out anyway.
The square-faced young man said, “Senior brother, this doesn’t seem particularly appropriate.” Then he said to Li Qingshan, “Hey. Just leave behind Qiu Ruiliu’s hundred treasures pouch. There’s information regarding the White Lotus cult within it, and it’s extremely important to us. It won’t bring you any benefits even if you possess it.”
“Enshan, you- sigh!” Wu Gen sighed helplessly. If some other commander was bold enough to act on his own like this, he would have lost his temper a long time ago. However, he had been very familiar with Fang Enshang back at the Academy of the Hundred Schools. They had been fellow students for several years. At the same time, what he said was completely correct, so there was no reason for him to lose his temper.
In the past when he first left the Academy of the Hundred Thoughts, he too had been influenced by the many years he spent in the school of Legalism, wanting to uphold justice and protect the dignity of the empire’s law. However, only after he went through a few things did he realise that this spirit, these laws, would never supersede the pills and spiritual artifacts within a hundred treasures pouch.
Whatever. These weak, independent cultivators probably did not possess anything good anyway.
Li QIngshan hesitated slightly as he weighed his options. The items of actual value had probably all been plundered by priest Qiu already. If he fell out with these people, he would have to transform and slaughter all the people here, without sparing anyone!
This included the Nighthawk, Zhou Pei, and the square-faced young man, as well as Qian Rongzhi.
A voice inside him asked hesitantly, Do you really have to kill them all? Immediately, another vicious voice roared out, Kill them! Kill them!
His expression constantly changed. He actually began to tremble gently. He understood what internal conflict meant now.
Wu Gen said impatiently, “Don’t push your luck!”
Li Qingshan suddenly raised his head, “Qiu Ruiliu’s hundred treasures pouch isn’t with me!”
Wu Gen said furiously, “You want to trick me?” The Python Constrictor chains tightened, and the wooden hut was completely crushed to pieces as shrapnel flew everywhere.
Li Qingshan said indifferently, “I’m telling the truth!” When he checked the hundred treasures pouches earlier, he suddenly discovered that one was missing. He had just fought earlier, so he had an idea just how many enemies there were. The only one missing happened to belong to priest Qiu.
Priest Qiu’s corpse had already vanished. Originally, he thought it had been destroyed in the explosion, but thinking about it now, even if it had been blasted to pieces in the explosion, it should not have vanished without a trace. However, there was nothing on the ground.
Li Qingshan frowned. He arrived where priest Qiu had collapsed before and stamped around. With a swing of his blade, he cut through the flooring, revealing a hole underground. Who knew where the murky hole led off to.
The formation of the wooden hut made the walls seem indestructible to others, but the formation had been cast down by priest Qiu in the first place, so he obviously knew a way out.
As it turned out, he had already prepared a path of retreat. Although he was in the direct range of the sword qi from the Cursive Sword Calligraphy, he was protected by the true qi of around two dozen people. He was injured, but he did not die on the spot.
He knew he was not Li Qingshan’s opponent, so he just collapsed on the ground and sealed off his breathing and heartbeat, playing dead.
This gamble truly came with great risk. If Li Qingshan sensed it and casually slashed him, he would not even be able to fight back.
However, the wooden hut was in chaos back then. Under the encirclement of so many Qi Practitioners, Li Qingshan was affected to a certain degree even though it was not enough to strike fear into him. And, with the explosion at the end, Li Qingshan’s sense of hearing, smell, and sight were all affected, which priest Qiu used to open the secret tunnel and flee.
Li Qingshan could not help but be surprised about the craftiness and prudence of this follower of the White Lotus cult. It was no wonder that the cult was an organisation powerful enough to clash against Gu Yanying and the Hawkwolf Guard of the entire Ruyi commandery.
Li Qingshan turned around with his ice blade, ignoring the chains in the surroundings. “If you don’t believe me, come over!”
Qian Rongzhi quickly made her way over to Li Qingshan.
Fang Enshang extended his hand. “Don’t go!” He wanted to stop Qian Rongzhi, but he was also afraid of alarming Li Qingshan by moving rashly.
The Hawkwolf guards were all nervous for Qian Rongzhi. This vicious, huge man was extraordinarily powerful. If he really decided to hurt her, Qian Rongzhi would probably be killed on the spot.
Under everyone’s gazes, Qian Rongzhi brushed past Li Qingshan and studied the hole in the hut.
Li Qingshan frowned. This woman would never take such a great risk for some official business. Had he been discovered?
Qian Rongzhi did not even glance at him. After studying it carefully, she raised her head. “He’s right. There are very fresh footprints below. Qiu Ruiliu has already fled. He should be injured. Sir, we’d better pursue him right now, or he’ll end up getting away.”
The Hawkwolf guards all sighed in relief. This conclusion matched their expectations as well. Qiu Ruiliu was extremely crafty. They had failed to capture him even after several attempts, so how could he be slain so easily by an independent cultivator?
They also felt some admiration towards Qian Rongzhi. This woman did not have a particularly strong cultivation, but she was extraordinarily brave. At the very least, none of them were bold enough to venture over.
Even Wu Gen nodded in praise. With this person supporting him, Enshang will have it much easier as a Black Hawk commander, and he will not remain so naive forever. However, little did he know that Fang Enshang’s naivety had just saved him from death, while Qian Rongzhi’s so-called bravery originated from her meticulous planning.
Even Wu Gen knew what was more urgent. He pulled back the Python Constrictor chains and flew into the hole first. He brushed past Li Qingshan and snorted coldly. “Let’s just say you were lucky!”
The Hawkwolf guards all entered the hold one by one, with Qian Rongzhi last. She glanced at Li Qingshan and smiled before disappearing into the hole as well.
A while later, the Quiet Spring valley fell quiet once again. Li Qingshan made his way down the stairs and sat down on them. He leaned on his arm as he sank into his thoughts.
This time, the internal conflict ended without being settled.
However, a larger internal conflict occurred in the depths of his mind. This was the boundary between humanity, immortals, buddhas, and demons. True conflict did not arise from the outside world, but from the inside, those unanswerable questions and those choiceless answers.
However, they had to be answered at the end of the day. He could not run away from all of his problems. He could not run away, nor did he want to run away. Even though none of the answers were the answer he wanted, he still had to make a decision. Life was not about being able to do whatever that you wanted, and it would not unfold to your tastes.
It was exactly these tough or even painful choices that allowed people to grow, to go from an ignorant child to the person they wanted to be.
“Hehe, I’ve finally found you!”
Li Qingshan raised his head in a rather tired manner and saw a young face. The face was filled with resentment and grievances. It had emerged from the forest, and beside him were many other people in the same uniform, who also emerged from the forest.