Chapter 349 – Seeing What I Love
With such an “important figure” speaking to him so politely, Liu Chuanfeng was rather flattered. He returned the gesture in a hurry. “You flatter us, master Chu. This disciple of mine only managed to triumph over your dear disciple out of sheer luck. There are many commonalities between the arts of the school of Novels and the school of Painting. We definitely need to exchange thoughts in the future. We’ll both benefit.”
Accepting the Heavenly Maiden Scatters the Blossoms, he directly passed it to Li Qingshan. Although he was rather reluctant to give up the heavenly maiden in the painting, Li Qingshan did deserve it.
“Don’t worry, master Chu. I will definitely treasure this painting.” Li Qingshan received it politely with both hands. He had won this battle, but he had used up almost half of his power of belief. This was the natural limitation of the school of Novels. However, at least he had earned some impressive spoils from the battle, making up for this loss. This was the best outcome possible. He did not want enemies everywhere either.
Of course, he was still clueless about winning over a certain person’s wife.
Chu Shidao nodded. ‘Danqing, you should seek guidance from senior brother Li more frequently in the future.”
Even though Chu Danqing disagreed with this, all he could do was answer, “Yes.”
“I’m not worthy of the title of senior brother. In the past on Cloudwisp island, Danqing and I got along the moment we met. We even drank together. We treated each other as friends and referred to one another as brothers back then, but for some reason, he stopped visiting after that one time.” Li Qingshan’s impression of Chu Danqing was quite good. He felt like he possessed a sense of naivety that was rarely seen.
“You’re still bold enough to mention that? If you hadn’t made me drunk, why would I have said something like that?” Chu Danqing glared at him, but he also felt embarrassed.
“Something like that?” Li Qingshan was taken aback. He had absolutely no idea why Chu Danqing resented him. They might have been opponents, but it was not like there were any great grievances between them!
Only after giving it some thought did he understand what he was saying. All he could do was smile bitterly. Why was this guy as fragile as a boy going through puberty, no, a primary school student? They were both geniuses, but he was basically on the other end of the spectrum compared to Chu Tian, that idiot who constantly flirted with women without the slightest sense of shame. He was so naive that he was adorable.
Perhaps geniuses had always implied a special temperament different from regular people, which was why they were able to walk along their own path. Among all the geniuses he had seen, Hua Chengzan was a romantic, Han Tieyi was a frozen piece of metal, and Chu Tian was an arrogant idiot. As for Xiao An, who was publicly acknowledged as the greatest, she might have been the most special one out of them all.
“In other words, you didn’t tell anyone about it?” Chu Danqing suddenly grabbed Li Qingshan’s shoulder, as if he had seen a sliver of hope in endless darkness.
“Who still remembers what you say when you’re drunk?” Li Qingshan’s expression was strange. It was not like he was some gossiping woman who had the time to tell others about what someone said when they were drunk.
As if he had avoided a disaster, Chu Danqing let out a deep sigh. In other words, his reputation had not been destroyed. As it turned out, he had been overthinking the entire time. However, when he thought about how he had actually dwelled on this matter for so long, even painting the Hellscape Rhapsody because of this, he became filled with regret and humiliation once more, tempted to throw himself at a wall.
Chu Shidao became curious. “What did he say?”
Li Qingshan said casually, “Danqing said he wanted…”
Chu Danqing covered Li Qingshan’s mouth in a hurry. “Master, it was just some drunken nonsense. It’ll only tarnish your ears.”
Chu Shidao smiled and bid farewell with clasped hands. “School leader Liu, take us to the school of Painting!”
“Then come with me!” Liu Zhangqing waved his hand. Soon after the match had been confirmed, they began building, planting, and designing gardens on an empty island south-west of Contention island.
Originally, he planned to give it to the school of Novels as compensation for their loss, but he never expected the final outcome to be like this. He had obtained his benefits already, and the school of Painting was unable to criticize him anymore either. With a disciple like Li Qingshan, there was no reason for the school of Novels to decline any further.
After this battle, the school of Novels must have made a name for itself. A lot of people would probably fill in the three words “school of Novels” during the next entrance examination, right?
Chu Shidao and everyone else arrived on the island for the school of Painting that was currently under construction. The structures there were already close to completion. It was unable to rival Cloudwisp island’s spiritual qi, but it was still an extremely exquisite place. It had its own thriving atmosphere.
Liu Zhangqing had been unwilling to offend the school of Novels too much, so he had asked the leader of the school of Mohism to personally build the structures here. The buildings and their features here were all elegant and tasteful.
After seeing off Liu Zhangqing, Chu Shidao leaned on his cane and arrived at the front of the structure. He gently touched the column that still gave off the smell of pinewood and let out a smile in delight.
“Master, why did you treat that Liu Chuanfeng so politely?” Chu Danqing supported Chu Shidao carefully. Foundation Establishment cultivators and Qi Practitioners were people of two completely different worlds, not to mention that Chu Shidao was no regular Foundation Establishment cultivator.
“If being a little more polite can turn enemies into friends, why can’t I forsake my antiquated pride?”
“Master, it’s all my fault.” Chu Danqing blamed himself. “I even made master lose that painting, damn it.”
“No. If you won, I’d be even more polite. The school of Novels cannot be underestimated. Li Qingshan cannot be underestimated. Even if you can’t turn them into friends, you can’t turn them into enemies. As for that painting, it’s not like you like it anyway. She’s just a painting. I’ve really grown senile. I worry over you too much. I’m confident that you can paint a painting that’s ten, no, a hundred times better. You’ll be able to paint the woman you love inside.”
But master, I like living people!
This sentence dwelled in Chu Danqing’s mind. He was not brave enough to say it. All he said was, “That painting is master’s precious memory. I’ll definitely take it back!”
“I have so many memories that they’re almost about to leak out, which was why I painted that painting. I’m probably the last person in this world who needs her. How strange. Matters from two centuries ago have actually become so clear now.” Chu Shidao leaned against his cane. His smiling gaze seemed to see through Chu Danqing, through the academy, and through time, to a very, very distant past.
“Qingshan, I never thought you’d actually win using this book.” Liu Chuanfeng flipped through the thin picture book. He was still in some disbelief.
Li Qingshan explained his reason, and both Liu Chuanfeng and Sun Fubai came to a realisation. Cultivators never took regular people seriously, let alone the children among regular people. Only at this moment did they realise just how important of an aspect they had neglected. Sun Fubai immediately made up his mind. Whatever those private institutions of hope were, he would establish them right now.
Liu Chuanfeng suggested celebrating properly. Li Qingshan glanced at Han Qiongzhi, who stood nearby and patted Liu Chuanfeng’s shoulder. “We gotta be discreet. They’ve accepted their defeat in such an elegant manner, so we can’t make too much of a display either just because we’ve won.” He had no interest in celebrating with two men. He would much rather show off to his woman.
Sun Fubai also expressed his agreement. Chu Danqing would definitely become an impressive figure in the future. It would be for the best if they could resolve this grievance.
Li Qingshan clasped his hands to bid them farewell and arrived before Han Qiongzhi. “Qiongzhi, how was my performance?”
“You said you’ll definitely treasure the painting. How do you plan on treasuring it?” Han Qiongzhi mentioned that immediately. She seemed to be smiling and furious at the same time.
A cloud lifted up Li Qingshan and Han Qiongzhi, taking them off into the air. They arrived beside Xiao An.
Li Qingshan bowed towards the One Thought master and said to Xiao An, “Let’s go. We’ll go have some fun in Clear River city.”
Xiao An glanced at Han Qiongzhi. “I’m going to go cultivate.”
“That works too. Wait for me to bring back your present.” Li Qingshan rubbed her head with a smile. They spent every single night together anyway, so it was not like they were lacking time. If the three of them were together, the atmosphere would be rather strange.
Han Qiongzhi’s heart eased up slightly. She nodded towards Xiao An to express her gratitude.
The cloud flew out of the academy, heading directly towards the city. Han Qiongzhi suddenly said, “Hold on.”
Li Qingshan stopped the cloud. “What’s wrong?”
Han Qiongzhi said, “You still haven’t answered my question. Don’t you even think about avoiding it!”
Li Qingshan smiled. “I’ll obviously treasure her like I treasure you. Surely you can’t grow jealous over a painting!”
“Don’t you dare! I’ll be jealous because I can! Hand over the painting!” When she heard that, Han Qiongzhi immediately refused to accept this and extended her hand.
Li Qingshan casually tossed the Heavenly Maiden Scatters the Blossoms to her. “Here, take it!”
Originally, Han Qiongzhi only wanted to test him, but she had never expected him to be so straightforward. It was not just a simple painting. Its value had exceeded the imaginations of regular Qi Practitioners. Her heart felt warm.
Out of curiosity, she unfurled the painting and saw that the face of the heavenly maiden was a blur, as if it were covered by mist. The power hidden within had completely exceeded Chu Danqing’s Hellscape Rhapsody. It had completely exceeded the value of any spiritual artifact.
“Hmph, it doesn’t seem like anything special at all to me. I don’t want it.” Han Qiongzhi tossed the painting back to Li Qingshan. “Though, you have to tell me who you see in the painting.”
Li Qingshan accepted the painting and asked in surprise, “How did you know?”
So the rumors really were true. Han Qiongzhi smiled complacently. “Just what don’t I know? Stop trying to change the topic. Tell me.” She acted like she did not care, but she was rather nervous inside. Would it be her?
Li Qingshan said, “Can I not say it?”
Han Qiongzhi said with absolutely no confidence, “Of course not!” Did he see Gu Yanying? I- if that were the case, she could not blame him, but she plummeted into dejection.
Li Qingshan said, “Fine then! Since you want to know, there’s no reason for me to hide it from you. That’s right, the person I saw was… widow Li from my village.”
Han Qiongzhi’s heart had already sunk. When she heard Li Qingshan’s answer, it instead petrified her. She blinked her eyes. “What… did you just say?”
Li Qingshan said with embarrassment, “You know, I was young! Widow Li is who all the men in our village fantasized over.”
Han Qiongzhi’s mind was thrown into disarray. Widow Li obviously posed no threat to her, but when she thought about how she had been defeated by a “widow Li” who did not even have a name, she found it even more difficult to accept.
Li Qingshan laughed aloud and pulled the fiery Han Qiongzhi into his arms. He raised her chin. “You idiot, it’s you!”
Han Qiongzhi growled angrily, “Li Qingshan, you’re teasing me again!”
Li Qingshan gently shook her chin and smiled. “That’s not called teasing. That’s called being toyed with!”
“I- is it true?” Han Qiongzhi’s voice suddenly sunk as she bit her lip. If it were not her, she would much rather him lie to her.
Li Qingshan stopped smiling and gently kissed her forehead. “I swear!”