Chapter 261 – The Fifth Layer
Below the mountain, they ordered a few side dishes, three bowls of congee, and a few steamers of steamed buns at a breakfast stall.
Originally, Diao Fei wanted to go to a restaurant, but Li Qingshan said, “Morning is not the time to drink.” As a result, they came here.
With three Hawkwolf guards seated, no one else dared to set foot into this place anymore, while the people originally there dispersed in a hurry. Only when Diao Fei tossed out ten taels of silver did the boss’s bitter expression ease up.
Xiao An had her head lowered as she ate a steam bun. Diao Fei faltered. “How old is she?”
Li Qingshan smiled. “If you have something to say, you’re welcome to cut right to the chase!”
Qian Rongzhi helped Xiao An to another steamed bun and smiled too. “So why are you looking for me? We’re all familiar with each other, so there’s no need to hold back. You can just tell me what you need.”
Diao Fei stifled his voice. “Did you know that the disciples of the three mountains have all died underground?”
Qian Rongzhi said, “Everyone in the Clear River prefecture knows about that.” However, everyone was focused on how the disciple of the Sword Collection palace had appeared and killed a Daemon General, so this matter actually did not receive much attention. The decline of three small sects was nothing compared to the turmoil of the entire world.
Diao Fei sighed heavily. “You know, I’m technically a disciple of the Green Vine mountain too.”
Li Qingshan said, “Then I need to congratulate you on avoiding a disaster.”
“Curses and blessings come hand in hand. Who knows which is what.” Diao Fei’s eyes became lost. He had been squeezed out of the sect in the past, which was why he had joined the Hawkwolf Guard. Originally, he wanted to focus on cultivation and find an opportunity for revenge, but the people who had squeezed him out were all dead now.
In just a single day, his grievances had turned into nothing. Diao Fei had also received a letter personally penned by the Green Vine Elder, who requested him to come back to the Green Vine mountain.
Li Qingshan understood what he meant by curses and blessings coming hand in hand. All the disciples of the Green Vine mountain were dead, so they obviously had to gather the disciples scattered outside. There were not a lot of disciples like that, but they would immediately go from outcasts to core figures of the sect.
Although most of the disciples of the Green Vine mountain were dead, their foundation and resources remained. When the resources of an entire sect were concentrated on these few core figures, the benefits would be tremendous. At the very least, it would be better than staying in the Hawkwolf Guard. However, just what kind of place was the Hawkwolf Guard? It definitely was not one where people could come and go as they wished. He needed to plead with the vice commander, Qian Rongzhi.
Sure enough, Qian Rongzhi said, “Resigning from your post in the Hawkwolf Guard won’t be easy.”
Diao Fei knew he needed to back up what he said, so he had already prepared a bribe. He glanced at Li Qingshan, hesitating over whether to take it out before him or not.
“I need to pay a visit to the government office, so I’ll be leaving first.” Li Qingshan immediately stood up and lifted up Xiao An, making his way out the door.
At the back of the government office, Zhou Wenbin was strolling through the garden as the caretaker reported, “Sir, Li Qingshan is waiting outside, wishing to see you.”
Zhou Wenbin said, “Welcome him in!” As Li Qingshan strode over, Zhou Wenbin became slightly surprised inside. Li Qingshan seemed to have changed in these few months. He had gone from the third layer to the fourth layer, but just describing it as rapid progress in cultivation did not seem to be sufficient. He seemed to have developed a frightening bearing.
Zhou Wenbin returned the greeting in a hurry. He no longer dared to consider himself a senior or sir to Li Qingshan anymore.
Li Qingshan stated his reason for visiting and Zhou Wenbin agreed to it, guaranteeing him that it would be no problem.
Satisfied with that, he caught up slightly with Zhou Wenbin before turning down Zhou Wenbin’s urgings to stay a little longer, bidding farewell and leaving.
After he left, Zhou Wenbin sighed gently. “He truly isn’t someone who would be satisfied with dwelling in a small pond!”
Li Qingshan returned to the mountain. He did not run into Qian Rongzhi and Diao Fei again. He directly entered the dwelling, turning the stone disc and closing the door.
Exhaling gently, Li Qingshan took out over a dozen spiritual stones and placed them in the grooves of the Spirit Gathering formation. The lines engraved in the rock immediately lit up, and spiritual qi rapidly gathered into the formation. The densest part was the centre of the formation.
Li Qingshan handed a few things over to Xiao An, reminding her to feed Milliped regularly.
Afterwards, he sat down at the centre of the formation and began practising qi, urging on the flow of true qi through his body.
Since he had returned to human society, his cultivation as a Qi Practitioner was very important. Once he went to the Academy of the Hundred Schools, there would probably be many Foundation Establishment cultivators there, so he could not always rely on transforming to kill his opponent. Even if he left behind no traces, it would still raise suspicion as time went on. And, there would be less trouble if his cultivation was higher.
Li Qingshan placed most of his attention on practising qi this time.
However, that did not mean Li Qingshan had stopped his daemon cultivation. Daemon cultivation was just much simpler than practising qi. All it required were large amounts of resources, and right now, the last thing that Li Qingshan lacked was pills.
The hundred treasures pouches, over a thousand of them, had provided Li Qingshan with a tremendous quantity of various pills. It would be enough to sustain his cultivation for several months at the very least.
He took out a handful of Qi Gathering pills first. Even on the lower end of the scale, there would be several hundred of them. He then shoved it all into his mouth. As soon as they reached his belly, it would be surrounded by a layer of daemon qi as flexible and as tough as flowing water. The daemon core in him would bob up and down, gradually transforming the pills into daemon qi.
As his daemon body had grown stronger and stronger, dissolving and absorbing several hundred Qi Gathering pills no longer caused him a particularly great burden. This process was like a person who had just eaten a meal, and they were slowly digesting it now. It did not affect his other actions.
Li Qingshan took out the jade slip and carefully looked through the mental cultivation method of the fifth layer of the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi. His mind then began to rapidly sink, sinking into a boundless sea. This was Li Qingshan’s sea of consciousness. Before long, he had entered a meditative trance.
He began to use the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi as the spiritual qi gathered by the Spirit Gathering formation surged into Li Qingshan’s body, rapidly being converted into true qi. He was pushing for the Yin Linking meridian.
A visible haze of light rose up from Li Qingshan’s body. At a closer glance, the haze of light did not disperse into the surroundings. Instead, it gathered towards his body. This was something that only appeared when spiritual qi had reached a certain density.
Li Qingshan could not help but admire the cleverness of human cultivators. Although this tiny Spirit Gathering formation was not as great as Milliped’s bed of spiritual stone, the effects were almost the same.
Qi Practitioners were not suited for directly absorbing the spiritual qi in spiritual stones for cultivation, but they could use spiritual stones to power formations to gather the spiritual qi of the world before seemingly processing it, making it suitable for absorption.
Extremely pure Gui Water true qi surged like the tide, constantly churning towards the Zhubin acupoint. This was the beginning of the Yin Linking meridian.
The Zhubin acupoint opened and true qi entered the Fushe acupoint. After the Fushe acupoint opened too, the true qi smashed through the Chongmen acupoint, reaching the Daheng acupoint on the waist.
Reaching there, the true qi should have been depleted, but spiritual qi flowed in violently, almost pushing the true qi forward.
The Daheng, Fuai, Qimen, and Tiantu acupoints opened one by one, reaching the final acupoint on the throat, the Lianquan acupoint.
Li Qingshan shuddered, and his true qi flowed smoothly. The Yin Linking meridian was open now. He had finally reached the fifth layer.
The entire process was smoother than he had expected. Now, the Yang Heel, Yin Heel, Yang Linking, and Yin Linking meridians were all opened. Li Qingshan’s four yin and yang meridians were open and connected, allowing true qi to flow through them endlessly. He felt his body grow lighter.
It felt extremely similar to ascending to a soaring immortal described by regular people. However, Li Qingshan knew that this was just a feeling. If he actually wanted to fly, it would not be so easy.
However, this goal was not far off either.
Li Qingshan opened his eyes. Three days had already passed, while the several hundred Qi Gathering pills in his belly had all been digested. The spiritual stones in the Spirit Gathering formation had dimmed, almost running out of spiritual qi.
Xiao An sat facing a wall, as if she was cultivating too. She had devoured a large quantity of flesh and blood underground. Qi Practitioners could not be compared to regular people. The vitality and essence they possessed was enough to rival ten or even a hundred regular people. She used this opportunity to refine this energy.
Li Qingshan did not disturb her either. He quickly peered into his body, sensing the raging flows of true qi. He tried to make the true qi gather in his dantian, and they coalesced like a sea of qi, but the true qi would return to the meridians as soon as he lost focus.
Yes. Li Qingshan wanted to use the secluded cultivation this time to break through to the sixth layer in a single stroke and split open a sea of qi. By then, he would be able to use all the spiritual artifacts in the hundred treasures pouches in his possession. He would actually be able to control artifacts.
And, his speed and strength would definitely grow drastically as well. Even without transforming, he would be able to fight any Qi Practitioner.
However, according to the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi, the first five layers of practising qi were regarded as easy. It would become more and more difficult from the sixth layer and onwards. Opening the Conception, Governing, Penetrating, and Girdle meridians would not be easy. It could not be achieved with just an endless supply of true qi and recklessly smashing through acupoints.
It would involve using the sea of qi as a foundation and balancing the four yin and yang meridians, using an extremely complicated and delicate method. Opening the Girdle meridian would be the most difficult. Apart from being difficult to open in the first place, it was directly related to the sea of qi.
The Girdle meridian was just like what its name suggested. It was like a girdle, wrapping around the waist. It was the only horizontal meridian within the human body, and it was for controlling and binding all the other meridians.
The dantian happened to be surrounded by it. It was exactly because of this controlling and binding effect that the person would be able to gather all the true qi in their meridians and condense a sea of qi. The process of opening the Girdle meridian required great caution, as the slightest carelessness could lead to the risk of suffering from cultivation deviation and harming the meridians.
However, there was a good piece of news too. The Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi was the easiest for condensing a sea of qi. Gui Water true qi was relatively gentler and milder, making it difficult to suffer from cultivation deviation. However, the process still required caution.
Li Qingshan also understood the principle that haste was less speed. He had only just reached the fifth layer, so he needed some time to consolidate his cultivation. He was in no hurry either. He had plenty of time for secluded cultivation anyway.
After cultivating for a while longer and depleting the spiritual qi in the spiritual stones, he removed them and replaced them with new ones, reactivating the Spirit Gathering formation.
At the same time, he shoved another handful of pills into his mouth.
Li Qingshan contemplated for a while before taking out the Gui Water Method of Condensing Qi again and studying the techniques it contained.
Water elemented techniques were not as great at killing as metal or fire, nor were they as great at ensnaring as earth or wood. They were primarily auxiliary.
For example, there was a Water Mirror technique that allowed the user to spy on the surroundings, giving them utmost perception. The higher the cultivation of the user, the greater the range of the technique.
The Invisibility technique also happened to be of the water element. It was an extremely powerful technique. The effect of invisibility would grow stronger with cultivation. In the beginning, it could only turn the user into a hazy mist, which was perceptible with the naked eye. However, as long as the user reached a high enough cultivation, they could truly achieve invisibility.
However, Li Qingshan had the high grade spiritual artifact, the Glazed Mirror of Invisibility, so he was in no hurry to practise a technique like that.