Chapter 258 – A Whim
In the eyes of the three elders, she was not just stupid. She was as foolish as they came.
Every year, there would be an endless stream of people who would visit the Sword Collection palace, wishing to join them. Often, there would be people who would kneel outside the palace without eating or drinking to express their devotion. As a matter of fact, there had even been people who had knelt to their deaths without being accepted by the palace.
The Green Vine Elder added a word of advice and said, “Zijian, you’ve stayed on my Green Vine mountain for so long, so you can say that there has been some destiny between us. I originally wanted to teach you the secret techniques of the Green Vine mountain and groom you into the future sect master. Today, I wish to advise you from the bottom of my heart. Go to the Sword Collection palace. Both you and your family will derive endless benefits from it. Once you miss this opportunity, you’ll probably regret it for the rest of your life.”
He was more polite and much kinder when he said that to Yu Zijian. While he did find Yu Zijian’s talent to be impressive, grooming her into the sect master had never crossed his mind. He had only said that to develop a positive relationship with her, but he was not completely lying either. Now that basically all the disciples of the Green Vine mountain had been slaughtered, he really would have given her his utmost attention if it were not for Fu Qingjin.
Fu Qingjin said nothing. He only looked at Yu Zijian silently. He naturally gave off a dignified aura where he would order people around, or he would not have convinced the three elders so easily. It was rare of him to show such sincerity, which made him even more difficult to turn down.
Yu Zijian lowered her head and pinched the hem of her clothing until her knuckles whitened. She was not good at rejecting the kind intentions of others. It was not that she could not see the benefits. Being able to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages was human nature. She was not slow-witted or obstinate either, where she had to go to the Academy of the Hundred Schools with Hua Chenglu just because she had promised her.
Probably no one could have guessed her true thoughts. The fate of that stalwart figure who had saved her from danger repeatedly was still unknown, so how could she just leave here and plan ahead for her future? Even if staying in the Clear River prefecture would make no difference to his situation, at least there was a chance for her to see him again. This thought was rooted deeply in her heart.
“I support your choice!” Gu Yanying patted Yu Zijian’s shoulder and smiled.
Fu Qingjin’s eyes narrowed. Finally, he showed displeasure for the first time.
“The path of cultivation is about your conscience. You can’t insist on anything, and whether there is any destiny or not is not for them to decide. As a Hawkwolf guard, I uphold the laws of Great Xia. Even the Sword Collection palace cannot abduct people in my face!”
Yu Zijian said in a hurry, “It’s not abduction. I- I-”
Fu Qingjin looked at her deeply before raising his head and sighing. “Forget it. The time must not be right. You can stay here for now. However, I do believe there will be a day when you come to the Sword Collection palace and do what you must do.”
Then he bowed towards Gu Yanying. “Please take good care of her, commander Gu. Please don’t let anyone hurt her.” He glanced past everyone else. “If even a part of what happened here gets divulged, my sword won’t be showing any mercy.”
The Green Ruins sword thrummed within the sheath as a feeling of desolation filled the surroundings.
The Sword Collection palace was not without enemies. Those who could serve as enemies to the Sword Collection palace would definitely be the most terrifying enemies to have. If they discovered that the next successor of the Violet Clouds sword was here, they would definitely kill her while she was still sprouting.
The three elders were slightly dissatisfied with this. They were three Foundation Establishment cultivators, yet in Fu Qingjin’s eyes, they were not even as important as a girl. However, in the long run, they truly were not as important as this girl.
Gu Yanying smiled easily. “That I can guarantee.”
Fu Qingjin clasped his hands again before turning into a green streak of light and taking off into the air. He vanished completely in the blink of an eye. He was never sloppy when he handled matters. He was extremely decisive.
Gu Yanying bid farewell as well. Before she left, she said to the three elders, “I can see some deathly aura on your faces. It’s best if you are a little more careful in the future.”
The faces of the three elders twisted. The Golden Pheasant Elder let out a dry laugh. “Ma’am, do you happen to know face reading?”
Gu Yanying smiled. “I don’t. I’m just speaking casually. There’s no need to pay any heed to it.”
The four of them passed through the formation on the waist of the mountain. Cold air swept in from all directions, ruffling their clothes.
Yu Zijian and Hua Chenglu held hands and walked at the front, while Gu Yanying and Hua Chengzan fell behind. The only thing audible was how Hua Chenglu constantly scolded Yu Zijian as an idiot and a dumbass, while Yu Zijian argued back.
Gu Yanying and Hua Chengzan looked at each other and smiled. Gu Yanying said, “I’ll leave these children in your care once they go to Clear River city.”
Hua Chengzan looked down. “Don’t worry, commander. I know how to handle them.”
Gu Yanying smiled. “You know, it’s rude to speak without looking at the person.”
Hua Chengzan raised his head in a hurry. There were a few rare slivers of fluster in his clear pupils. Gu Yanying did not directly take off, so he knew that she had something to say to him.
However, Gu Yanying had already directed her gaze at the sky, at an obscure location that he was unable to gauge. That was where the stars existed. “Fu Qingjin, heh. Just his decisiveness alone makes him worthy of being the successor of the Green Ruins sword. Out of the eighteen commanders under me, your cultivation is the lowest, but in terms of resourcefulness and meticulousness, no one can surpass you. Obviously, I don’t have to worry about you, but you do lack this decisiveness. Throughout history, all people who accomplish great things possess some decisiveness.”
Hua Chengsan said, “I don’t wish to accomplish great things.”
Gu Yanying sighed .
“Today, apart from that millipede, there were two other daemons that were extraordinary. If Fu Qingjin had not interfered, the three old men would have almost been finished off.”
As soon as Gu Yanying had arrived, she had only heard a simple story from Hua Chengzan about how it all unfolded. After that, she directly went to stop the Spider Queen’s revenge. Hua Chengzan had already written up an extremely detailed report on what had happened during the Herb Gathering ceremony of the three mountains, but he had yet to submit it. He used it to change the topic of the conversation.
“Oh, how were they?” Gu Yanying did not care, but she still went along with the flow.
“One was extremely large, humanoid but with ox horns on his head, ox hooves on his feet, a tiger tail on his back, and scarlet hair and pupils. It should have been a hybrid among daemons. The other one was a tiny skeleton. For some reason, it demonstrated extraordinary sword techniques after entering the Green Ruins illusion.”
Gu Yanying raised an eyebrow. She naturally thought of the figure that roared out in the snowstorm atop the Ice Sword cliff. Her impression of Li Qingshan was quite deep.
Just what method did they use to contend against Foundation Establishment cultivators? According to her memory, Li Qingshan was still a daemon that had not even condensed a daemon core a year ago. It was impossible for him to be able to threaten Foundation Establishment cultivators.
Hua Chengzan saw how it interested Gu Yanying, so he told her everything that he saw. He was skilled at talking, describing what he saw back then in vivid detail. Even the two others who had directly watched it unfold, Hua Chenglu and Yu Zijian, could not help but stop and listen in. They would even interrupt him at times and add to what he said.
Gu Yanying thought, He sure has made rapid progress. In just a single year, he has reached a level like this. In other words, the annihilation of the Qi Practitioners underground was probably due to his plan. The fact that he had managed to take this step so quickly surprised her even more than his cultivation speed.
The master of the Sword Collection palace was right. The territory of humans and daemons only existed on a whim. However, just how many people could easily and decisively go ahead with this?
Gu Yanying said, “Do you remember what happened outside Qingyang city last year?”
As if the chatterbox within him had been set off, he appeared as if he had to stop his thought processes, and he went with Gu Yanying’s question, speaking endlessly, “Of course, I remember. Old Wang invited us to drinks. Oh right, the kid you gave a drink to is called Li Qingshan. He actually went and joined the Hawkwolf Guard…”
Gu Yanying immediately became surprised. Originally, she thought that Li Qingshan had completely fallen into the world of daemons. She had not forgotten about the minor interaction she had with him, but she never expected it to yield something. Her expression remained the same on the surface as she listened to Hua Chengzan.
With that, it only gave Hua Chenglu even more authority to speak. She could not help but follow up on what her brother had said, going off on a great speech about what she saw when she met Li Qingshan on the Island of Cherishing Flowers.
He’s actually practising qi. Just what is this kid thinking? Gu Yanying’s interest was piqued.
Li Qingshan wanted to go to the Academy of the Hundred Schools, the headquarters of cultivators in the Clear River province. Only there could he continue to delve deeper into the world of human cultivators. Only there could he convert the thousand or so hundred treasures pouches worth of items currently in his possession into resources that he needed. Only there would he have an opportunity to refine the spiritual herbs he had collected into pills.
He needed to do all of this using the identity of Li Qingshan. He needed a recommendation from Zhou Wenbin.
Of course, this would not be entirely risk free. He would not be able to avoid an investigation from the Hawkwolf Guard, but according to the information he had received from Qian Rongzhi, the Hawkwolf Guard had never treated him as a criminal and put out an order for his capture. In other words, there was a very good chance that he could fool them all.
And, the worst-case scenario would just be a Foundation Establishment cultivator trying to kill him. Having reached the second layer of the tiger demon, he was confident that he could face off against a Foundation Establishment cultivator. Even if he was not their opponent, he could escape, and if it really came to that, he could just dive underground and find a hidden place to cultivate in seclusion for a couple of years.
He was not very far off from Daemon General now. Combined with all the resources in the hundred treasures pouches, he would be able to touch on that realm within two decades at most.
Two decades was nothing to daemons. As a matter of fact, it could be regarded as startlingly fast.
However, he did not want to wait for twenty years. Who knew what would happen in the world after two decades. Even when disregarding everything else, the elders of the three mountains might end up dying from old age. And, just what level would Fu Qingjin’s cultivation reach with the support of the Sword Collection palace?
Li Qingshan was confident he could outlive that bastard, but there was no way he could comfort himself with that and convince himself that he had beaten him. He had to find shortcuts and advance valiantly. Many of the dangers involved were not even worth mentioning.
Thinking up to this point, Li Qingshan finally set foot on the top of the mountain. After several months, he had returned here, but he felt like an entire lifetime had passed already. He repressed these thoughts and feelings as he strode towards his original residence to find Qian Rongzhi.
Knocking on the door, Qian Rongzhi saw Li Qingshan and blanked out slightly, but she was not surprised. She said gently and cheerfully, “You’re back.” She was like a wife awaiting the return of her husband from a long journey, both gentle and warm. They had not been apart for a very long time, so there was not a lot of excitement, but it had not been short either. Though, they were clearly accustomed to it.
Li Qingshan said, “It looks like the cultivation method of the Sect of Clouds and Rain suits you very much.”
Their eyes met, and they could sense each other’s changes. One had become gentler, while the other had become even calmer and sharper as they walked along their paths of survival silently.
“It’s so-so!” Qian Rongzhi turned to her side and let Li Qingshan into the house. Seeing Xiao An behind Li Qingshan, her gaze became even gentler. “Xiao An is back too.”
Xiao An produced a soft interjection of agreement, which caused Qian Rongzhi to blank out once again. She let out a smile from the bottom of her heart.