Chapter 327 – Extra
The battle only lasted for a very short amount of time, and it was completely one-sided. With a group of school leaders present, if they failed to overwhelm a single Altar Lord, then they would be utter laughing stocks.
When the battle reached its most intense moment, Altar Lord Black Lotus was already prepared to launch an attack with his life on the line so that he could pull a school leader or two down with him. However, he seemed to sense something. He personally cut down the black lotus and grabbed a single lotus seed within the seed pod. He said, “My end has not arrived yet.” before fleeing into the distance.
The various school leaders were all afraid of being injured by his final strike, so they had all pulled away from him, which instead gave him the opportunity to escape.
The slovenly daoist priest and Ma Buyi pursued him together. The Altar Lord had fled, but he had personally cut down his lifebound arcane artifact, so he was not lightly injured either. As long as they could catch up to him, they could severe his final hope of survival.
The slovenly daoist priest and Ma Buyi were the most appropriate choices for pursuit too. The other school leaders all returned to the academy to provide reinforcements.
In the beginning, Li Qingshan had no idea what had happened. All he felt was confusion. The battle had arisen because of him, but even he had no idea what it entailed.
In the end, it was only because Han Qiongzhi had asked Han Anjun in great displeasure that Li Qingshan finally gained a rough idea about what had happened.
If this were a game of chess between the Hawkwolf Guard and the White Lotus cult, or perhaps Gu Yanying’s chessboard, then the role he played probably even paled in comparison to a chess piece.
This was because both sides understood that this mission was just a symbolic fuse to set off a chain of events; it was not the focus. As a matter of fact, it was even purely a coincidence that Han Qiongzhi and he were the ones carrying out the mission. If Hua Chengzan changed his mind, perhaps there would be two other Hawkwolf Guards instead, or maybe there was no need for anyone at all.
They were not sacrifices, nor were there any risks either. They had not been used as bait or sacrificial pieces. It was impossible for Wang Pushi to use Han Anjun’s daughter, the secondary disciple of the school of Legalism, as a sacrifice.
The various school leaders had appeared when the black barrier unfolded. The primary reason why they had not struck immediately, apart from wanting to wait for the black lotus to be planted properly, was because Han Anjun wanted to give his own daughter a test. He wanted to see how she would perform. He believed that an experience like this would be akin to a precious treasure to Han Qiongzhi, who had never suffered any particularly large setbacks before.
The school leaders would have never just stood aside and watched as they were being slaughtered. If the Altar Lord actually tried to touch them, the school leaders had their ways to protect them.
After Han Anjun’s departure, Han Qiongzhi erupted with curses over this arrangement, but Li Qingshan fell silent. As it turned out, the greatest risk he faced was transforming before all the school leaders.
Apart from being still shaken up, he felt gloomy too, which he wanted to get out of his chest. Compared to this, he would much rather transform and battle the Altar Lord to death.
Han Qiongzhi did not think too much of it, probably because this was not the first time she had experienced a “test” like this. After cursing to her heart’s content, she no longer thought about it anymore. Instead, she felt rather perplexed when she saw Li Qingshan standing by the pond alone.
She went up and said, “What’s wrong with you? Are you worrying about Xiao An? She’s fine.” Han Anjun had only told her everything through a spiritual artifact after he had returned to the academy.
Li Qingshan smiled in a self-deprecating manner. “I’ve stolen quite a lot of the show recently in the academy, to a point where I actually thought I was a big deal!”
If he had been abused, then he could bide his time and wait for an opportunity for revenge. If he had been used, then he could find the person who had used him and ask for an explanation. But right now, he was just unhappy with all of this, and there was no one he could vent it on.
The Altar Lord had been very polite to him, perhaps because he was a highly cultivated person, or perhaps there was something wrong with him mentally. However, the primary reason was because Li Qingshan was nothing in his eyes. You said I’ll die today. Okay, maybe I might actually die. After a casual conversation, he sensed that the school leaders could no longer hold themselves back, so he just brushed him aside. “You can go. The people I’m waiting for have come.”
Wang Pushi’s thoughts were probably even simpler than that. I sent you on a mission with no danger at all, so what can you be displeased about? You think I should tell you beforehand? Why should I?
Going even further, Gu Yanying had no idea he was carrying out this mission at all. Wang Pushi was just a chess piece too.
It was as if just when Li Qingshan felt like he was the main character, someone had run over and stated to him clearly, “You’re just a supporting character, no, you’re not even a supporting character. You’re just an extra for the Hawkwolf Guard.”
The other supporting Hawkwolf Guard character, wait no, Han Qiongzhi asked, “What’s wrong?”
Li Qingshan said, “It’s something that’s very difficult for women to understand.” This was a man’s battle between his grand ambition and cruel reality. Perhaps the more wonderful the dream was, the more painful it was when it was time to wake up!
Han Qiongzhi shot a glare at him. She hated it when people used the fact that she was a woman as an argument, but when she remembered how Li Qingshan had even risked his life for her survival, her gaze softened again.
“You think you’re so great just because you’re a man? When you’re complacent, you think you can do anything, but once you become dejected, you can’t even match a woman, acting like how you don’t care on the surface when you’ve already given up and admitted defeat inside.”
“Are you talking about Hua Chengzan?”
“How did you know?” Han Qiongzhi was taken aback.
Li Qingshan laughed aloud. “I can’t tell normally, but you really are quite adorable!”
Han Qiongzhi’s face reddened, and she clenched her fists. “I think you only have a bit of bearing about you when you’re fighting or drinking.” Looking at Li Qingshan’s wretched smile, she was tempted to punch him.
Smiling at one another, both of them felt much closer.
“Let’s go back!” Li Qingshan said. After locating his anguish, his mind had instead settled down. He became even more determined. Regardless of whether he could accept it or not, he had to accept it all. This was life. No one was born to be a main character, nor was there anyone destined to play the role of an extra for the rest of their life. He had to continue further down his path.
It was at this exact moment that the surface of the pond rippled, and a huge carp poked its head out.
“Daemon!” Han Qiongzhi clenched her fists.
“I’m the one who raised it.” Li Qingshan stopped Han Qiongzhi. “You go first. I want to bid farewell to it.”
After chasing Han Qiongzhi away, Li Qingshan crouched down and rubbed the carp’s head. “You sure are pretty lucky. I think the pond is too small for you, such that you’ll outgrow it very soon. Do you want me to release you into the Clear river?”
The huge carp nodded before suddenly diving to the bottom of the pond. Just as Li Qingshan felt puzzled, the carp swam back with something in its mouth, placing it in Li Qingshan’s hand.
Li Qingshan looked at it carefully and saw that it was a tiny black seed pod. There were around a dozen or two lotus seeds in there, with only one missing. It was the seed pod of the black lotus from earlier. Even Li Qingshan was uncertain about whether the black lotus was conjured from spiritual energy or if it was an actual plant. However, he did know that the seed pod was anything but ordinary.
The carp nodded before opening its mouth.
Li Qingshan stowed the seed pod away. He reached into his hundred treasures pouch, but he had already eaten all of his pills. After a moment of consideration, he found a spiritual fruit and fed it to the carp. Only then was it satisfied.
Li Qingshan used a technique and swept the carp onto the cloud. He picked up Han Qiongzhi and headed back to the academy.
Along the way, he released the carp into the Clear river. It dove into the water happily, without the slightest reluctance to part with him.
Afterwards, he was met with a casual question from Han Qiongzhi. “Do you like commander Gu?”
Li Qingshan replied without much thought, “I do.”
In the end, Han Qiongzhi immediately turned hostile and refused to pay anymore attention to him.
Li Qingshan was slightly surprised at first, but no matter how dense he was, he could still tell what Han Qiongzhi felt about him. He could not help but become content with himself. I, Li Qingshan, possess charm too! He could not help but think about the joking words he had said a few months ago.
He could not help but begin to closely study Han Qiongzhi beside him. Her pretty, short hair must have come from Han Anjun’s influence. There were many bald disciples in the school of the Military. Her tall nose bridge was very sculptural, while her pursued lips flowed with determination, or should he say, stubbornness.
She resembled her cool brother, Han Tieyi, slightly. Perhaps a pair of straight eyebrows and twinkling eyes were too valiant for a woman, but she was without a doubt a beauty.
Han Qiongzhi’s face reddened even more. She was filled with indescribable joy. She felt that even though she had been “tested” once again by her damned old man, it was not entirely bad.
However, she finally lost her patience with Li Qingshan’s gaze too, as this wretch was not satisfied with just her face. He had already begun to size up her body, and he had just reached a conclusion of “fantastic”.
“What’re you looking at!?” When she said that, even Han Qiongzhi herself felt feeble.
“Do you like me?” When he said that, even Li Qingshan felt like he probably had better things to do.
How could Han Qiongzhi admit that? As a result, the two of them returned to the Lake of Dragons and Snakes under a strange tension once again.
The sun had just begun to set, dyeing the ripples of the lake red.
Just as he had wanted, he had used less than a day to complete the trial mission, but everything that had occurred completely exceeded his imagination.
Thinking about it now, all he had done was watch a great show and play the role of an extra. Thankfully, he had not left the stage just yet.
However, only when he approached the academy did he realise that the true show had actually unfolded here.
The Formation of Dragons and Snakes no longer existed, and every single island had sustained horrifying damage. Large swathes of structures had been knocked over, with many disciples cleaning them up.
However, the island with the most exaggerated damage was Contention island. The jagged mountains there seemed to have been cut apart and ground down, turning into large swathes of cracked rock. There was not a single complete structure there.
Li Qingshan rushed over to Anāsravāṃ island, and sure enough, he found Xiao An safe and sound. Only then did he stop worrying. However, the island was filled with despair. Many monks had died, refined by the Altar Lords of the White Lotus cult. Not even their corpses remained.
Li Qingshan embraced her tightly and felt a different kind of danger. This was a battlefield where two Golden Core cultivators had once fought. There was not a single Qi Practitioner that could protect themselves, no matter how talented they were.
In the past, the Soaring Dragon Elder had cut down mountains like tofu. He could still recall it vividly.
Someone called out his name. Li Qingshan looked back and saw Hua Chengzan. Their eyes met, and both of them felt like they had just survived a disaster.
Hua Chengzan said, “Sorry, I didn’t know either… Are you fine?”
Li Qingshan wrapped his arm around Hua Chengzan’s neck and smiled. “Do I look like I’m in trouble? You’d better stop asking stupid questions like that in the future.”
Hua Chengzan smiled too, but it was rather forced. Compared to Li Qingshan, he had actually just returned from the gates of death. All it would have taken was a single thought from the White Lotus Mother, and he would have been dead already.
“Commander Gu wishes to see you.”