Chapter 342 – Date
Li Qingshan suddenly sat up and shook his head, as if he had yet to wake up from his dream from earlier. He found her question to be startlingly familiar.
“Don’t play dumb! Tell me!” Han Qiongzhi’s face was red as she pinched Li Qingshan’s cheek with a fuming expression.
This question, compared to the original version, was obviously much easier to answer. Li Qingshan said, “I’d obviously save you. If there’s danger that even she can’t resolve, what am I supposed to be able to do?”
Originally, he thought his quip would displease Han Qiongzhi, but he never thought she would smile and say, “That’s more like it.”
Her slender finger stroked past his cheek, leading to a gentle itch. The small boat rocked gently, producing ripples that radiated away from them. The warm spring breeze filled the sail. Her sweet smile deeply infected him too. He felt fortunate that he could be here.
Under his smiling gaze, she suddenly felt this was rather improper of her. After all, this was the first time they had gone on a date together, yet she just found all of this so familiar, having been anticipating this for the longest time.
She had a fiery character. If she were uninterested, she could even ignore a handsome man like Hua Chengzan. However, if she were interested, then her feelings would erupt like a volcano and she would be completely hopeless, unable to remain particularly reserved. However, she still managed to melt away the firmness of Li Qingshan’s heart.
“If it’s just you, then you won’t even be able to get close to her even in your next ten lives, so don’t have those wild thoughts like little Hua!” Han Qiongzhi pinched her nose. She could look down on Qiu Haitang’s irresistible charm, but even she felt rather powerless before Gu Yanying.
Not only was Gu Yanying the main commander of the entire Hawkwolf Guard of the Ruyi commandery, but she was also something akin to an idol. It was not just Hua Chengzan. There were countless people who were enchanted by her. Even the Marquis of Ruyi was no different, let alone others.
Li Qingshan smiled confidently. “Hah, just you wait. I’ll marry her too and turn the two of you into sisters.”
“Don’t you even think about it! Who agreed to marry you anyway?!” Han Qiongzhi said in irritation. Her gentle touch immediately turned into a firm pinch.
Li Qingshan said, “You’d best hurry up then. If you’re a little slow, you’ll have to be the younger sister.”
Han Qiongzhi leaned on him heavily and grabbed him by the collar. The small boat rocked as a result. They were outside the Formation of Dragons and Snakes, on the Lake of Dragons and Snakes that seemed to stretch on endlessly. There were within a large patch of yellow reeds, which was sheltered and serene.
A clear and melodious voice alarmed a few water birds.
“Li Qingshan, let me tell you! You’ll have to listen to me in the future!”
“Why must I?” Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. Surely there was no such thing where men had to cede to women in this world! Though, from this perspective, there sure were a few rising and falling peaks. He wondered what they felt like.
“Because I’m your senior sister and your senior!” Noticing Li Qingshan’s gaze, Han Qiongzhi’s face reddened slightly, but she held her chest high proudly.
“Then I need to work hard and get promoted soon so that I can try out the position of commander.” Li Qingshan conveniently placed his hand around her waist. Her thin, spring dress wrapped around her tightly, smooth to the touch.
Han Qiongzhi trembled slightly, but she let his hand remain there. She moved off him and threatened viciously, “From today onwards, I am the only person you’re allowed to touch. If you cheat on me, I’ll- I’ll…”
“What’ll you do?”
“I’ll cut it off.” Even Han Qiongzhi struggled to hold back her laughter.
“Sigh, but it’s still brand-new! Surely you have to use it first!” Li Qingshan’s hand conveniently slid down to her bottom.
Han Qiongzhi leapt up. She became bright red at first before suddenly laughing aloud. She rubbed Li Qingshan’s head and said, “So you’re still a… How pitiful. If you behave well, I’ll show you pity and let you try the taste of a woman.” She recovered her usual boldness. As she looked at Li Qingshan, she seemed to be looking at something that was hers, completely content with him.
Sometimes, she would suddenly remember that he was actually a few years younger than her. Of course, a difference of a few years was not the end of the world to cultivators who lived for centuries. However, she would often forget about this, as the feeling he gave off had always been mature and composed, so she felt like she was the younger one instead.
Li Qingshan rolled his eyes. “Then I’ll have to trouble the experienced big sister Han in guiding me.”
“What’re you saying? I’m obviously a…” Han Qiongzhi said furiously.
“A what?” Li Qingshan snickered.
Only then did Han Qiongzhi realise he was teasing her. She prodded his forehead firmly. “You’ll know in the future!”
Li Qingshan studied her up and down. His gaze seemed to have penetrated her clothes already, taking in all of her delicate, perfectly proportioned body and imagining matters of the future.
Han Qiongzhi readjusted her posture slightly unnaturally. If other men ever stared at her like this, she would roar at them, “I’ll dig out your eyes if you keep looking!” Many of the times, she was not saying this just for show. Neither the school of the Military or the school of Legalism taught their disciples to be soft-hearted.
Li Qingshan suddenly shook his head. He opened the cabin and made his way out from under it. He looked at the endless reeds and said, “I want many wives and consorts. I want all the beauties of the world to be my wives and consorts. How can I just stop here?”
“Why don’t you keep going?” Han Qiongzhi lunged over and wrapped her arm around his neck firmly.
However, it would be difficult for her to cause Li Qingshan any discomfort with her physical strength. Instead, she seemed like she was hanging off him, with her chest pressing firmly against his back. It was quite the sensation for Li Qingshan, who only smiled. “I’m just talking from the bottom of my heart.”
“You just love bullying me because I like you. You’re only spending time with me because you want to take advantage of me!” Han Qiongzhi suddenly released him and backed away to one side.
Li Qingshan turned around, but what he saw was that her eye rims had already reddened as she glared at him. It was true. Whenever he saw how brusque and simple-minded she was, he could not help but bully her. He went up and wrapped his arms around her waist, saying gently, “Qiongzhi.”
“What?” She spoke viciously, but her heart softened.
“Nothing. I just find you even more adorable than before.”
“Do you really think you can- you can…” Han Qiongzhi’s face was flushed, but her complaints had already vanished into thin air.
“Just you is enough.” This truly came from the bottom of Li Qingshan’s heart. Although he always said he wanted all the beauties in the world, she had already taken up all his attention whenever he spent time beside her. Yes, she possessed the charm.
And, a person’s time and energy would be limited at the end of the day. He had to spend time with Xiao An, he had to cultivate, and he had to learn alchemy too. Even if he could obtain everything, he would not have the time to enjoy them all! Was he supposed to waste away all of his time in the arms of women? There were still a lot of things he wanted to do!
Even Han Qiongzhi’s gaze became lost. She was filled with utter joy. So this was what reciprocation between two lovers felt. Just a single word from the significant other was enough to elate them.
She had once looked down on these feelings of love and attachment, but she deeply understood their wonders now. She raised her head. “That’s what you’re promising!”
“That’s what I’m promising. It’s quite late now. I need to go learn alchemy, and you still need to return to the school of Legalism to handle official business!” Li Qingshan let go of her waist at the cost of tremendous willpower and took a step back, separating from her warm, enchanting body.
“Are you going to go find Ru Xin?” Han Qiongzhi could not help but wonder whether Ru Xin and he got along like how they were just then. Combined with her reluctance to part with him, a strange feeling filled her heart.
“Yeah. I’m going to go learn alchemy. Trusting your man is a woman’s duty!” Li Qingshan caressed her hair. Although he was tempted to spend an entire day here with her, it would probably only worsen Han Anjun’s impression of him. Since he wanted to be with her, he had to consider what his future father-in-law thought about him.
Han Qiongzhi heard his explanation and felt warm and at peace inside. She bit her lip and agreed with his saying about men and women through silence. She had never been a fussy woman. This had just been her first encounter with love, so she had lost her usual composure.
“Alright, you should go back then. I’ll come find you on Cloudwisp island at night.”
“A lone man and woman spending the night together doesn’t sound like a particularly good idea!” Li Qingshan knew that the culture of this world was still quite conservative. If they were both from ordinary backgrounds, then no one could say anything if they decided between themselves to get married. However, Han Qiongzhi was the young lady of an aristocratic clan after all. Although she was quite casual most of the time, she still cared about her reputation at the end of the day.
“What’s so wrong about that? It’s decided then.” As Han Qiongzhi said that, she made her way over to the nose of the boat and took off ahead of Li Qingshan.
The small boat rocked for quite a while longer. Only then did Li Qingshan think it through. She was probably afraid he would spend a night alone with Ru Xin instead! It was quite rare of her to think of a tactic like this. Sure enough, those dramas about power struggles within the imperial harem were not for show. If he really did end up with multiple wives and consorts, it would probably drive him crazy.
What was this tactic supposed to be? Sating the tiger with your own body? Li Qingshan could not help but look forward to it. He stowed the exquisite boat into his hundred treasures pouch and leapt off as well.
On Benevolence island in Ru Xin’s alchemy room, a huge pill cauldron stood in the centre. It stood on three legs, surrounded by a design of cranes with unfurled wings. It was called the Three Cranes cauldron. It was completely snowy-white, standing elegantly and delicately, just like her.
Ru Xin sat before the cauldron in white clothes. Her hair levitated in the air; the few strands of hair that drooped down were simple and elegant, contrasting against the pill cauldron.
As soon as she saw Li Qingshan, she let out her usual, warm smile. “Your face is glowing, and your time for marriage is approaching. Qingshan, are you expecting?”
Li Qingshan sat down on the cushion beside her and said sternly, “Oh right. Ru Xin, from today onwards, don’t tease me anymore. It’s impossible for anything to happen between us. You’d better just stick to teaching me alchemy!”
She tried playing cute and let out a slight grumble, but it sounded like a cat’s meow. She turned her head away and glanced at Li Qingshan. Just her soft glance was enough to drive men crazy. She was basically purposely destroying the usual, elegant image she had cultivated, but she still gave off a different form of attractiveness.
“Quit it!” Li Qingshan rolled his eyes. He had gotten to know her from the time they spent together. This woman basically had no limits with how far she could go with her jokes, but he could not help but admit she was extremely enchanting.
Ru Xin frowned sadly. “My darling Li, you really would forget about the old when you have someone new.” She shivered. “Urgh, that’s sickening. I feel like I’m the one who’s suffering here. Alright, the joke ends here. Today, I’ll go through the gentle and fierce flames for alchemy.”
The effects of spiritual herbs, the manipulation of the pill cauldron, and the control over time were all explained through her crimson lips, allowing Li Qingshan to learn exactly how much detail alchemy involved. If he were off by just a short moment, the effects of the pills would be worlds apart.
There were plenty of snide comments and remarks during the process. The greatest benefit of learning from her was that it would never be boring.
However, they never made anymore bodily contact, and it was not because Li Qingshan had reformed himself and decided to be a good, faithful man.
Instead, it was Ru Xin who smiled. “If you lay another finger on me, I’ll tell first young miss Han.”
“How did you know it was her?” Li Qingshan was taken aback.
“Apart from her, who else would take a fancy to a man like you? You’re not graceful, charming, or honest. You’re only slightly stronger when it comes to fighting, which is barely a virtue.”
Li Qingshan raised his index finger and waggled it around gently. “Ru Xin, oh Ru Xin. That’s what you call sour grapes. That’s no good.”
“And, fighting is where the souls of men lie. Aren’t you captivated too when you watch me fight?”
“There’s no need to say anything more. I understand. Sorry, but I can’t reciprocate your feelings. Maybe in another lif-”
Ru Xin interrupted him with a roar, “Acting all sentimental! You’d better stop where you should!”
Li Qingshan laughed aloud. Ru Xin was all stern in the beginning before beginning to laugh as well. Perhaps she did have other men who she could talk and joke around with, but he was the only one who treated her so nonchalantly without any ulterior motives. Just like the joke earlier, she could only say something like that to him. Intentionally or otherwise, was she trying to probe him out too?
The conclusion she reached was that he truly was stubborn. Once he had decided on something, he would do everything he could to achieve it. On the contrary, once he deemed something to be off-limits, he would cut himself off from it without the slightest hesitation. He was truly a person who could pick things up or drop them at a whim. When a man like that fell in love, his feelings would blaze like fire, but when he grew cold, he would be quite terrifying. This was his charm!
“You really are very special.”
“Let’s refine pills, refine pills!”
Around dusk, Li Qingshan sensed something and pushed open the door to the alchemy room. He saw Han Qiongzhi pacing around on the shore nearby. “Qiongzhi, what brought you here?”
“Nothing. I’ve just come to see you,” Han Qiongzhi said in a hurry, but she became rather helpless before Li Qingshan’s smile that seemed to see through her.
Ru Xin walked out and smiled. “We’ll stop here for today!” She did not act up anymore, which brought Li Qingshan a breath of relief.
They returned to Cloudwisp island together and discovered that many places had been cleared out, with various crops planted in their place.
Liu Chuanfeng rushed out from inside. “Qingshan, how are you?” He had heard that Li Qingshan would be returning, so he purposefully waited here. However, he leapt in fright the moment he saw Han Qiongzhi. “H- Han Qiongzhi!”
Li Qingshan asked, “What’s wrong?”
As it turned out, Liu Chuanfeng had not just been looked down on by men for writing smut in the past. As a woman, Han Qiongzhi’s impression of the matter was self-explanatory. She had once cursed him publicly in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain, and ever since then, Liu Chuanfeng would avoid her whenever he saw her. But now, it was unavoidable.
“School leader Liu, long time no see.” Han Qiongzhi bowed casually. She still had to show some respect for Li Qingshan’s sake.
“Yeah, yeah!” Liu Chuanfeng studied them up and down before quickly pulling Li Qingshan to one side. “The two of you?” He clenched his fists and wiggled his thumbs, hinting at their relationship.
Li Qingshan nodded. “Yep!”
Liu Chuanfeng patted Li Qingshan’s shoulder in great admiration. Originally, he had thought it was all a rumor, but he never expected it to be true. Whether it was her appearance, figure, cultivation, or background, she was perfect, but her personality was a little too over-the-top. Whenever she lost her temper, she would always act fearlessly and recklessly. It was not something regular people could put up with.
There had been quite a few people who had once thought it would not be an issue as long as they could establish ties with the Han family, but they all ended up suffering disastrous defeat, humiliating themselves. There had even been rumors on the streets that she preferred women (actually, they came from Liu Chuanfeng after he had been cursed in public). Never did he think she would actually fall in love with Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan asked, “What brought you back here?”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “I’m worried for you. In another two or three months, you’ll have to fight Chu Danqing. To think you’re still in the mood to go out and complete missions. How’s your collection of power of belief going?”
“It’s going alright.” Li Qingshan glanced at the Divine Talisman of Great Creation again. In just a single day, it had grown by almost ten percent.
This was the benefit of divine talismans. He could sit at home, doing nothing, and it would still grow constantly. This was the effects of exponential growth, allowing it to grow by compounding upon itself. The seeds he had planted had already begun to sprout.
Of course, there was definitely a limit to this growth. It was restricted to the region of the Clear River prefecture, but the benefits would linger for a very long time. At the very least, they would not be going anywhere within the next century.
“Are you absolutely confident you’ll win?”
“I can’t say that I’m absolutely confident, but I never fight a battle unprepared.”
“I don’t have to worry if that’s how you’re putting it. We can’t let other people take Cloudwisp island. Oh right, did you tell that agriculture disciple Li Long to use our land?”
Li Qingshan replied, “Yeah I did. It’s fine, right? Don’t worry, you have a share in this too!”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. If you can win your battle, it’s fine even if you cut down all the bamboo on the island!” Liu Chuanfeng had considered this idea in the past too, but back then, just who wanted to have anything to do with the school of Novels? There had been a few agriculture disciples who were interested too, but when they returned, earth elder Huang replied to their request indifferently, “You’d better tend to your own plot of land properly first!”
Ever since then, no more agriculture disciples were bold enough to mention this. Only a new disciple like Li Long would be unaware of this incident. Perhaps it was because of the reformed reputation of the school of Novels, or perhaps Li Long’s hard work had earned earth elder Huang’s recognition, so the elder deemed him to have already tended to his plot of land properly. Regardless, he did not encounter any obstructions at all. He asked for help from a few seniors and juniors he was familiar with, and they began planting very soon.
“Is there anything else?” Li Qingshan asked impatiently. Just what was a lovers’ world supposed to be when there was an obscene, middle-aged man in the mix?
Liu Chuanfeng glanced at Han Qiongzhi again and muttered, “You got a woman, so you’ve forgotten about your master now.”
After Liu Chuanfeng left, Han Qiongzhi asked, “You haven’t copied him, right?”
Li Qingshan asked, “Copied what?”
“I heard he uses his power of belief to conjure women from his novels before going at it with them. What a deviant,” Han Qiongzhi said in disgust.
“Of course not. The level of my Divine Talisman of Great Creation is far too low. The characters I conjure aren’t realistic. There’s nothing interesting about something like that either. I’ll think about it after I reach Foundation Establishment,” Li Qingshan said in contemplation, leading to a displeased gaze from Han Qiongzhi. He smiled. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding!”
Though, if they really were like real people, wouldn’t that mean he could make many of his wild wishes from his past life come true? It would be a portable harem. A temptation like that really would be difficult to resist. Surely that was not betrayal, right? Men would always have some little secrets of their own!
Han Qiongzhi said, “I’m not joking with you. If I find out you have, I’ll cut..”
“Stop!” Li Qingshan glanced at the depths of the bamboo forest. “What’re you standing there for? Why don’t you come over?”
Only now did Han Qiongzhi discover that Xiao An was standing silently in the forest nearby. Under the moonlight, she seemed perfect, but her expressionless face seemed slightly terrifying.
Xiao An walked over and asked curiously, “Cut what?”
Li Qingshan said, “Cut watermelon.”
Han Qiongzhi knew that this child was extremely important to Li Qingshan, and her talent and strength was not something she could ignore. She greeted her as amicably as she could.
Xiao An glanced at Li Qingshan. Under his suggestion, she called her big sister Han.
Their world of two became a world of three. Li Qingshan was not really affected by this. Out of the two of them, one was family, while the other would become his family. There was nothing wrong with having them familiarise with each other.
Han Qiongzhi, however, felt very uncomfortable. This child was just too strange. She had tried to get close to her, but the child’s gaze towards her remained cold, like a delicate doll. Only when she spoke to Li Qingshan did she suddenly seem to spring alive with a hint of liveliness. She found it strange that Li Qingshan did not find this weird at all.
As the sky gradually darkened, all Han Qiongzhi could do was bid farewell. She did not find tonight to be as great as she had imagined it to be in the afternoon.
Passing over the small, serene path through the bamboo forest, Li Qingshan accompanied her to the shore. He said, “Xiao An just isn’t particularly friendly with people she’s unfamiliar with. Please forgive her.”
Han Qiongzhi said in dejection, “I don’t care about what she thinks, but I just feel like I’m the outsider when you’re with her.” Every time they exchanged glances, it seemed to be hiding a message that was indecipherable to outsiders, as if they could read each other’s minds.
Li Qingshan smiled. “It’s not like we were like that from the first time we met. We went through many, many things together.” He embraced her gently, patting her back as if he was trying to comfort her. “We’ll start right now. In the future, we’ll be like that too.”
Han Qiongzhi agreed to that. She smiled. “It’s good that she’s here. You can’t just take advantage of me so easily anymore.”
“How can you call that taking advantage of when it’s with my own woman?” Just like what Ru Xin thought, he was indeed stubborn from a certain perspective. If he wanted to give up on them, he would let them go willingly, but if he wanted to possess them, he would grasp them firmly in his hand.
Han Qiongzhi could sense his resolve from his words, and her heart eased up as a result. She bit her lip and placed her hands on her chest. “I will do my best.”
With her hands behind her back, she walked backwards. Stepping onto the surface of the lake, she produced a series of ripples under her feet. She said gently, “I’ll see you tomorrow.” She turned around gracefully and walked off into the distance. Her steps were as spry as a child’s.
As he watched her travel away, Li Qingshan said quietly, “I will do the same.” He truly wished there would be a day when he could tell her all his secrets.
Returning to the bamboo building, Li Qingshan said, “What do you think of her?”
Xiao An said, “She’s worth two hundred people.”
Li Qingshan smacked her head and joked in a furious manner, “Is doubling the number supposed to be a sign of respect? It’s too late if you want to regret it now.”
Xiao An rubbed her head and pouted. “I regret nothing!” How could that woman keep up with his steps and accompany him to beyond the Nine Heavens?
Spring rain fell endlessly. Within the Main Martial Arts stadium of the school of the Military.
Having been invited over once again, Li Qingshan said to the military disciples who stood in formation nearby, “This time, there’s no chance for you to win.”
Han Qiongzhi stood out behind him as she cheered him on. She waved her fist. “Qingshan, beat them up!”
The military disciples were absolutely devastated by this. They felt like their most important position had already collapsed before the battle had even begun. As the school with the strictest supervision, such that they did not even permit their disciples to leave the island without good reason, the school of Military never had any female cultivators who were bored enough to come and watch the military disciples abuse themselves.
Only Han Qiongzhi would visit here frequently, appreciating their hard work and being able to get along with them. She was the standard dream lover to the military disciples.
Now, their dream had shattered, and their love rival was standing right before them. With a furious roar, they poured their strength together in unison.
PS: Huge release of six thousand characters, asking for monthly tickets! Even if you call me shameless, I’ll still ask for themmmmmm! Thank you for your sect master donation, fellow Eye Mother! Don’t blame me for not erupting with releases in gratitude. This is all that I can do. As a diligent old ox for cultivating the land, you can’t expect me to move faster than a horse. Actually, this month’s releases have been alright, right?