Chapter 298 – The Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots
Li Qingshan said seriously, “You’ll regret it when the time comes.”
Hua Chengzan stared at Li Qingshan. Gradually, the corner of his lips curled up uncontrollably, and he broke out in laughter again.
Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. “Have you laughed enough?”
Hua Chengzan used Li Qingshan’s shoulder to support himself. “Sorry, sorry. I really couldn’t help myself.” After laughing for a while longer, he said, “I’m willing to take care of you not just because of what she said. You’re far too interesting. If you were a little more delicate in terms of appearance, you really might be passable.”
A chill ran down Li Qingshan’s spine as he was filled with disgust now that Hua Chengzan had quipped him with the exact same remark.
Hua Chengzan took off in the wind as he laughed aloud, flying off into the sky. His smile gradually vanished as he muttered to himself, “Is it regret?”
Li Qingshan turned around and returned to the courtyard. He saw Liu Chuanfeng hugging the jar of alcohol, directly pouring it into his mouth. Sun Fubai seemed to be trying to calm him down on the side.
Liu Chuangfeng ignored him. He placed down the jar of alcohol heavily and said, “In order to prepare these dishes, I had to pay out of my own pocket. When other school leaders eat in the Hundred Flavours restaurant, the owner personally comes out to welcome them. They can eat whatever they want, and it won’t even cost them a single spiritual stone. Yet, I just have to pay like everyone else. If I try to haggle the price, I get people rolling their eyes at me. What’s all this for? All of this is so you’ll recognise the school of Novels and learn the arts of the school!”
Sun Fubai said, “Junior brother, you should stop saying all of this!”
“Xiao An, let’s go.” As Li Qingshan said that, he brushed past Liu Chuanfeng, acting like he was not even there.
Xiao An leapt up and made her way into the depths of the bamboo building with him.
Liu Chuanfeng was taken aback. Suddenly, he smashed the jar of alcohol on the ground. “Go, just go. You’re all the same. You all look down on me.”
Li Qingshan abruptly stopped. He said without looking back, “Liu Chuanfeng, please have some dignity, and perhaps you’ll earn some of my respect. However, if acting and complaining like a madman just because you’ve had a little to drink is all that you know, you truly don’t deserve any respect at all. Why don’t you think about the reason why the school of Novels has declined to its current state!”
Liu Chuanfeng was speechless.
“Well said!” A man with a long hat walked over slowly. His appearance was thin and simple. He was the leader of the school of Yin-yang, Ma Buyi.
Sun Fubai thought, The Cloudwisp island really hasn’t been so lively before. It’s him who has brought in this new breath of life, but how long can it last for?
Li Qingshan said, “Greetings, school leader. May I ask what has brought you here, sir?”
Sure enough, Ma Buyi’s gaze landed on Xiao An. His eyes were filled with amazement and eagerness, “I’ve come for Xiao An. Have you heard of the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots?”
Li Qingshan shook his head. Sun Fubai instead exclaimed, “Is it the ultimate esoteric technique of the school of Yin-yang, the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots?”
Sun Fubai gave an explanation, and Li Qingshan learned that the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots was originally an ancient cultivation method passed down through the ages. It was worth even more than the school of Buddhism’s Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual, and it was extremely difficult to practise too. Not only did it require extremely sharp senses for yin, yang, and the five elements, it also required the person to be able to wield yin, yang, and the five elements freely. Even in ancient times, not a lot of people could practise it.
However, once they achieved success with it, they would be able to unleash extraordinary power. As long as they were interested in learning, they basically could use all the techniques of the various elements of the present day. And, the most powerful aspect of the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots was not even in battle, but in divination. They would be able to conduct divination with seven lots, allowing them to know about the past and future and forecast any good or ill omens.
“Xiao An is the most suitable successor for this esoteric technique.” Ma Buyi’s eyes lit up. He was eager to see the effects of this esoteric technique of the school of Yin-yang once Xiao An learnt it.
Li Qingshan said, “Xiao An is still a disciple of the school of Buddhism after all. I’m afraid this isn’t something we can decide on.”
Ma Buyi said, “I’ve already discussed it with the One Thought master. He has agreed for her to learn it.”
“Wouldn’t the two different cultivation methods clash?” Li Qingshan was rather surprised. He never expected the One Thought master to be so generous, allowing his own primary disciples to spend time and effort on the cultivation methods of other schools.
“You have no idea. There are many differences that exist among ancient cultivation methods and cultivation methods of the present day. In particular, it differs tremendously with buddhist cultivation methods. It won’t clash with the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual.”
“But she’ll definitely end up slowing down with her cultivation.” Li Qingshan immediately hit the main issue.
The reason why the One Thought master had agreed to Ma Buyi’s request was because Xiao An cultivated just too quickly, which made him rather afraid for some reason. He did not know about the encompassing vows recorded within the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. All of it was just a monk’s hunch.
“That’s true, but I think it’s worth it. As a Heavenly Meridians prodigy, it might be smooth sailing for Xiao An as a Qi Practitioner, without any obstructions at all, but once she reaches Foundation Establishment, she won’t have this advantage anymore. And, if she continues onwards, each step will only become even more difficult to take. Clearly, a foundation is extremely important, so why not use this period of advantage to make her foundation even firmer?”
Li Qingshan found it to be quite reasonable. He asked Xiao An, “What do you think?”
Like an adult, Xiao An lowered her head and pondered for a while. She glanced at Li Qingshan before nodding in agreement.
With Xiao An’s agreement, Ma Buyi let out a smile. He was an extremely clever and observant person. Looking at the circumstances, he thought, Li Qingshan really is very important to her. Does she want to slow down her cultivation and wait for him?
However, that was not Xiao An’s objective. It was unlike what the One Thought master and the other school leaders were predicting either. As a matter of fact, it was the exact opposite. She was worried that they would separate and end up in different worlds, but she was afraid that she would be the one to fall behind.
In the past, the black ox had once told her, “His path will be extremely dangerous. You’ll need to do everything you can to keep up with his footsteps. If you don’t think you can persevere, just give up on the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty!”
But how was it possible for her to give up? Whether it be the Guardian King’s Method of Demon Subdual or the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots, it was all like comparing a rock to a mountain before the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
Her cultivation speed was not actually that fast. Once Li Qingshan transformed, her cultivation would even be slightly lower than his, as the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was simply too profound. Even with her comprehension, each step was extremely difficult to take. All she did before was use the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty as a foundation before disguising herself as a regular person, which was why she managed to achieve the miracle of reaching the sixth layer in a single day and night.
This body condensed by the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty might have been an amazing Heavenly Meridians prodigy to others, but to her, it was just an empty beauty, no different from the illusionary reflection of the moon in water.
Compared to Li Qingshan’s dual cultivation as a human and daemon, it might seem like there were two sides to her too, but there was actually just a single path in front of her, the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. Of course, she could discard that path and only focus on the Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual. With the advantage brought on by the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, it would be nothing difficult for her to reach Foundation Establishment or even higher.
However, the requirements that the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty placed on the cultivator were not just talent and comprehension, but willpower and disposition too. If her pursuit of great beauty surpassed her nature of white bones, if she treated the buddhist dharma with more importance than this cultivation method, then this supernatural ability would become much more difficult if she ever wanted to return to it.
At the very least, there was no one in this world who could overcome this fact. Even with Xiao An’s talent and comprehension, she was unable to reopen a closed door. She still wanted to accompany Li Qingshan to beyond the Nine Heavens, so how could she give up on a mountain for the sake of a rock?
On the Ice Sword cliff, she too had witnessed the moment when the black ox struck out. She was no less shaken up by it than Li Qingshan. If the black ox was looking forward to a day when Li Qingshan could stand beside someone like that, just what was she supposed to do to remain by his side? The Guardian King’s Scripture of Demon Subdual or the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots? Quit joking.
The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was her only choice.
As a result, even without Ma Buyi, she would still slow down her cultivation. This just happened to provide her with a good excuse. Moreover, polishing a rock could assist her in understanding the mountain too.
She was quite interested in the divination techniques of the ancient cultivations, as while the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty did include techniques like that, her cultivation was still too low right now. It was beyond her reach. Right now, all she could do was start with the simple stuff and gain a prior understanding as some preparation for the future.
Ma Buyi said, “This isn’t a place for me to pass this onto you. Come back to Antiquity island with me!”
Xiao An glanced at Li Qingshan. Li Qingshan smiled. “Go and cultivate properly with school leader Ma. I just happen to be planning to cultivate in the afternoon.”
After seeing off Xiao An, Li Qingshan was about to return to his room to cultivate with some pills.
Liu Chuanfeng suddenly stood up. “I- I have a good place for cultivation here.”
Liu Chuanfeng brought Li Qingshan into the depths of the courtyard. There was an empty space around the centre of the huge courtyard. The surroundings were all sealed up. Li Qingshan had not discovered this place during the morning.
There was a formation engraved on the empty ground. It was very similar to the Spirit Gathering formation Li Qingshan had once seen in the seclusion room in the Hawkwolf Guard, but it was much larger and more complicated. The grooves had already been filled with spiritual stones too, and they seemed different from regular, inferior spiritual stones.
Li Qingshan wanted to extend his hand over, but he was immediately forced back by a great power. He was unable to take a single step towards the formation. He could feel that even if he transformed, he would not be able to smash through this power.
Liu Chuanfeng took out his waist tablet. The waist tablets of school leaders were different from those of regular disciples. They were extremely detailed. Half of it depicted clouds, but various figures, plants, and beasts were conjured within the clouds. Every single one of them were as small as a mustard seed, yet they were also depicted in minute detail.
Liu Chuanfeng raised the tablet, and the formation flashed gently, producing a thrum. It was like some kind of mechanism had been activated. Liu Chuanfeng invited Li Qingshan to enter.
Li Qingshan made his way into the formation. This time, nothing obstructed him.
As soon as he set foot in the formation, Li Qingshan felt an extremely pure and tremendous energy. It was much more powerful than the energy in the Hawkwolf Guard’s seclusion room.
And, he could even sense that the formation did not just gather the spiritual qi of the world. There was also some kind of huge, complicated system that resonated with it.
Li Qingshan was right. It was the tremendous formation that enveloped the entire academy. The formation on Cloudwisp island was one of its components.
To be chosen by the Academy of the Hundred Schools, the Lake of Dragons and Snakes had always been a rare blessed land, while the islands chosen by the nine standard schools were blessed lands among blessed lands. Spiritual veins crossed through below each island, while the place where they chose to build the formations were on the openings of the spiritual veins.
Gathered through the formation, the spiritual qi had reached an unbelievable density. It was quite a rare holy land for cultivation. However, only the various school leaders had the right to cultivate there. Even the primary disciples did not have the right.
However, with how much the school of Novels had already declined, the various rules only existed in name now. Liu Chuanfeng had witnessed Li Qingshan’s wealth before too, so he was unable to think of anything aside from this that could interest him.
Standing in the formation, Li Qingshan gained a deeper understanding of the importance of “environment” out of the four crucial elements to cultivation—wealth, companionship, method, and environment. If he cultivated here, it would be countless times more effective even if Qi Practitioners were unable to absorb the spiritual qi of the world.
And, he could absorb the spiritual qi of the world. His cultivation as a Qi Practitioner was about to take a qualitative leap forward.
He was unable to completely understand the value of this formation, but he knew that he had to pay spiritual stones whenever he used any facilities according to the rules of the academy. He was just about to ask.
Liu Chuanfeng said, “Cultivate well.” before turning around and leaving. Originally, he wanted to use his drunkenness to speak a few words of truth and touch Li Qingshan, but he never expected it to achieve the exact opposite effect. He was completely dejected now. He had already given up on hope. If a person like him practised the arts of the school of Novels, it truly would be a waste!
Looking at Liu Chuanfeng’s rather lonely figure, Li Qingshan said, “Hold on.”
Liu Chuanfeng turned around, and Li Qingshan said sincerely, “Thank you!”
Liu Chuanfeng forced out a smile. “You’re welcome. You’re the only disciple of our school of Novels after all.”
“But I’m very sorry.” Li Qingshan kept clear tabs on his debts of kindness. He had to pay him back, but he could not waste his precious time on a futureless cultivation method as a form of payback.
Liu Chuanfeng said, “There’s no need to say anything. I understand. I won’t try to force you into it anymore.”
Li Qingshan said, “Why must you write those kinds of books?”
Liu Chuanfeng lowered his head and clenched his fist. “I don’t want to write that stuff either. You know that the novels I write are, are trash. But no one is willing to read what I write seriously. If no one reads my novels, I can’t gather any power of belief.”
“Then why don’t you just abandon the cultivation method of the school of Novels? With your cultivation at the tenth layer, all you need to do is put in a bit of work, and there’s a great chance that you’ll reach Foundation Establishment.”
“If I do that, I’ll just be a regular cultivator, and the path of the school of Novels will really end for good. The previous school leader, who was also my master, held my hand before he passed away, telling me to continue the legacy of the school of Novels. You might look down on me, but regardless of what you think of me, I’m a novelist!”
With that, a great burden seemed to be lifted from Liu Chuanfeng’s shoulders. He raised his head and murmured, “Master, I’ve done everything I can.”
“Revitalising the school of Novels is not necessarily impossible,” Li Qingshan suddenly said at this moment.
Liu Chuanfeng turned around in a hurry. “You’re willing to practise the arts of my school of Novels?”
Li Qingshan said, “I never said that.”
“However, I might be able to help you. Though, I do have one condition. Recall and destroy all of those… novels.”
Liu Chuanfeng wanted to object instinctually. Those pieces of trash were all the treasure he had left.
“There’s no need to panic. Time is not scarce, whether it’s for you or for me. You have plenty of time to think about it. Whether it’s ten days or a hundred days, I await your answer.” With that, Li Qingshan entered the centre of the formation. He crossed his legs and sat down, closing his eyes and meditating.