Chapter 333 – Renowned Throughout the Land
Although time was rather tight, Sun Shuping still walked at an unhurried pace. He had a healthy glow about him, and he had switched his cloth robes for a fur coat. He was brimming with vigour, differing greatly from the impoverished old storyteller of the past.
His job right now was to train young storytellers for the Cloudwisp association. He made quite a pretty penny.
Although there was no longer any need for him to take the stage, he frequently could not help himself but to go up and tell a part, leading to rounds of applause. He did this to scratch his itch of demonstrating his ability, but it was also because the money he earned on stage would all be his. The Cloudwisp association would not touch it at all.
Sun Shuping often felt embarrassed because of this. He tried persuading his bosses to accept some silver taels in consideration of the long-term situation. He had already begun to treat the Cloudwisp association like half a home, so he obviously hoped the association could carry forward and prosper for a very long time so that humble actors and artists like him could hold their heads high.
Returning to his room, he discovered that his disciple, Li’l Rock, was lying on the ground, utterly absorbed by a picture book. He frowned. “Li’l Rock, why aren’t you familiarising yourself with the material and preparing to go on stage? Why are you reading this instead?” Sun Shuping was originally against his disciple continuing along this line of profession, but after joining the Cloudwisp association, he changed his mind. He wanted to give him some proper training.
Li’l Rock raised his head. “Master, I want to tell this story!”
In the past, Sun Shuping had looked through the picture book Li Qingshan had released too. It was interesting, but it was just a story for children. There were basically no words, and it was too short, making it unsuitable for storytelling or singing out. As a result, he did not take it too seriously.
But now that Li’l Rock had mentioned it, turning a story into a smaller, brief performance was quite a good idea too. It was perfect for Li’l Rock to go on stage and get some practice.
Liu Chuanfeng and Sun Fubai knew about the picture book too. It was all thanks to Sun Fubai’s connections that it could disseminate and propagate so rapidly. However, they also felt like it was just an insignificant picture book that did not suit the standard of the school of Novels, unable to contend against the school of Painting’s Chu Danqing. Before they knew it, they had already forgotten about it, focusing most of their attention on editing Li Qingshan’s novel instead.
Once a chapter was completed, they would immediately spread it throughout the land using the storytellers. It was extremely effective too. Even the Cloudwisp association gained great renown, which filled the two of them with confidence. Over two weeks had already passed by now.
Li Qingshan meditated in his room. He peered inside his body, and the twinkling power of belief gathered in his Divine Talisman of Great Creation, making it shine.
His novel and picture book rapidly spread through two different audiences. Through every single teahouse and restaurant, through every conversation between children, his impressive name was being spread around, turning into specks of belief and gathering in the sea of power of belief.
At the same time, he had never stopped practising the Ox Demon’s Fist of Great Strength. He had already consumed almost half of the pills he had purchased with spiritual stones. In probably half a month’s time, he would reach a whole new level.
As he watched the sky darken, Li Qingshan thought, It’s about time she comes back. He waited for another hour, and only then did Xiao An appear outside, throwing herself into Li Qingshan’s arms. Her tiny face was fuming.
“Who is it that has made our Xiao An so furious?” Li Qingshan caressed her long hair with a smile.
Recently, Xiao An had been extremely busy too. The eminent monks that the One Thought master had invited all converged here from various places, and Xiao An had to visit and greet every single one of them. Mentioning the buddhist dharma would be unavoidable every single time, throwing some sayings at her as a test.
If the eminent monk happened to bring a disciple or two with them, then it would be even more troublesome. They would insist on competing and seeing whose disciple was better. They just wanted to make it difficult for her.
With Xiao An’s understanding of buddhism, the One Thought master obviously achieved a complete victory, earning plenty of respect. He was overflowing with joy every single day, but Xiao An was particularly vexed. This had greatly diminished the time she spent with Li Qingshan.
Compared to bickering with these monks, she would much rather lean against his chest peacefully.
She shifted into a more comfortable posture. “The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty is completely right. All of these bald asses should be burnt to death! Today, the young nun brought by that old nun clearly couldn’t win against me, but she insisted that I had to undergo tonsure, or I’ll still be clinging onto my six sensory desires. I ended up losing.” She did not care about the outcome, but she did not want to waste time.
Li Qingshan burst out laughing. He pinched the tip of her nose. “Looks like your comprehension of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty has deepened yet again.”
“Exactly.” Xiao An held his hand and studied the grooves carefully. Her large eyes blinked a few times before suddenly saying impulsively, “Let’s enter seclusion!”
Ever since last time, monotonous secluded cultivation had become her favourite thing to do. They would be alone, without any disturbances at all.
Li Qingshan said, “The assembly of dharma is about to formally begin. If we enter secluded cultivation right now, the One Thought master will want to tear out my throat. As for you, just listen along. Your comprehension of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty will definitely deepen.”
All Xiao An did was feign a tantrum. Before him, she would always be a little more “normal”.
Li Qingshan said, “There’s only the two of us on the island right now, so let’s treat it as secluded cultivation. We’ll cultivate in seclusion for a few hours!”
Xiao An agreed. “Alright.”
The next morning, the fragrance of sandalwood curled away, and Xiao An had already left. Ever since the arrival of the first eminent monk, she was responsible for holding the morning chanting in Anāsravāṃ temple. This should have been a great honour, but it caused her quite a lot of distress.
The One Thought master knew that this disciple of his was difficult to coax. He was afraid that she would stubbornly decide to go her own way with a single will and be mocked by others, so he promised a lot of pills to her. In order to earn some pills for Li Qingshan, all she could do was accept the responsibilities of the primary disciple seriously. As long as she could help him, she could tolerate momentary separation.
Holding onto the pills from her, Li Qingshan felt quite strange aside from his joy and delight. He shook his head and tossed this thought out of his mind.
He did not tell Xiao An about the items Qian Rongzhi had left behind. As her guardian, he did not want Xiao An to have any relation with that woman.
Of course, if Qian Rongzhi really did die outside, he could tell Xiao An about it. It was not like a dead person could influence Xiao An in any way.
However, he never received this news.
All he learnt from Han Qiongzhi was that after returning in one piece from a mission, Qian Rongzhi immediately took on a second mission. The location of the mission was even further away from Clear River city, where the headquarters of the Hawkwolf Guard stood. She basically seemed like she was trying to commit suicide.
However, Li Qingshan had a feeling that she would not die outside so easily. If she did not have some confidence in this, she would have never approached the matter in such a manner.
Whatever. Her fate had nothing to do with him.
Li Qingshan stood up and made his way into the depths of the bamboo forest and began training. Even Xiao An was working hard for him, so how could he still laze around?
He heard the bamboo leaves tremble in an unnatural manner. Li Qingshan suddenly looked back and threw a punch.
With a thump, it landed within a vice-grip like hand.
Li Qingshan said, “Tieyi, what brings you here?”
“I’ve come to pay back the debt!” Han Tieyi was slightly surprised. The force in the punch actually made his hand ache slightly.
“I almost forgot. You still owe me two punches.” Li Qingshan lifted up his fist, and Han Tieyi retreated rapidly, vanishing into the bamboo forest.
“Come to the school of the Military’s Main Martial Arts stadium. Don’t forget, you have a debt to pay too.”
“It’s a pity that I only like collecting debts, and I hate paying debts!” Li Qingshan shot off like an arrow in pursuit.