Chapter 362 – Hand in Hand
Li Qingshan smiled. “What, it’s only been a few years, yet you don’t even recognise me anymore?”
Huang Binghu truly struggled to connect this “immortal” who rode on clouds to that farmer boy of the past. He had seen a little more of this world than regular people, but never had he seen anyone fly like that!
It had just been two or three years since he last saw him. His tall stature had completely stretched out now. Wide-chested, his imposing body was brimming with might. As he sat on the cloud, he radiated with pressure. His face had not changed much, but his entire bearing definitely made him seem like a completely different person.
Outside the village, many soldiers had already tossed aside their weapons and lowered their heads to the ground. Although the hunters in the village basically all recognised Li Qingshan, none of them dared to believe their eyes.
Li Qingshan glanced at the dazed martial arts masters outside the village and asked, “What’s going on here?”
Huang Binghu smiled bitterly. He placed down his bow and told him the entire story.
As it turned out, soon after Ye Dachuan had left, a new district magistrate arrived. This time, it was not someone who had managed to get his position through nepotism like Ye Dachuan, but a scholar from an academy. In just a mere year or two, he managed to unite the Qingyang district into a monolith under his command, becoming the person who held absolute local power. A stubborn organisation of the “previous era” like the Drawn Reins village, combined with its name that provoked the authority of the government, had become a “holdout” that required heavy reforms.
“Qingshan, you have to help us out this time. You’re technically half a member of the Drawn Reins village too.” Huang Binghu saw how Li Qingshan did not give off the haughtiness of a cultivator and understood that he was still the same inside, so he pleaded.
Only with that did Li Qingshan recall this. He smiled. “When I joined the Drawn Reins village back then, it was like entering the belly of the beast. You’re a first-rate master now, so why have you chosen to remain in the village? I remember you once said that you still wanted to go out and wander around for a bit.”
While the current Huang Binghu was still known as the Sickly Tiger, his face shone with a healthy glow as he brimmed with energy. Clearly, the ginseng alcohol had played quite the role in this. With his arduous cultivation of inner force, he had already become a first-rate master.
Huang Binghu glanced at the village. “The new district magistrate has been so aggressive, so how can I just leave?”
Li Qingshan patted his shoulder. “Got any alcohol?”
Huang Binghu beamed. He turned around and yelled at the village, “Fetch the alcohol!”
Alcohol was delivered over jar after jar. The two of them just began drinking on the watchtower. Sure enough, the new district magistrate received the news before long and rushed over personally. He did not ride, nor did he take a carriage. Instead, he used movement techniques, basically drifting over. In this day and age, scholars were not synonymous with gentleness and fragility. Internal martial arts and swordsmanship were all obligatory subjects to learn.
The new district magistrate was not old either. As soon as he spotted Li Qingshan, his expression changed. Although he was also a first-rate master, his knowledge surpassed Huang Binghu’s. He shivered inside, A high level Qi Practitioner. He immediately humbled himself, and when he heard how he was a Hawkwolf Guard, he became countless times more careful too.
Li Qingshan did not favour Huang Binghu either. He invited the district magistrate up and served as a mediator for the two of them. He made the district magistrate withdraw the troops, and he made Huang Binghu change the troublesome name of the Drawn Reins village. He prevented a series of pointless slaughter.
Where would the two of them find the courage to refuse this? They immediately shook hands peacefully.
After drinking, Li Qingshan patted Huang Binghu’s shoulder. “How can you let an outsider run amok in your own territory? Brother Huang, I think you should take another path in life!” He shoved a pill into his hand.
Huang Binghu glanced at it and exclaimed, “An Innate pill!” Before he could even thank him, the cloud had already crossed over the mountains and vanished.
As spring arrived, Xiao An stood up in the cavern. She walked towards the daylight, allowing the rumbling lightning to rip apart her clothes and strip her of her flesh.
Her blood instantly began to boil. Most of her Aspect of Heavenly Fragrance and Beauty body had been charred before turning into ash. In the end, all that remained was a set of white bones.
She walked very slowly, but she did not falter. The terrifying heavenly tribulation was unable to make her waver, as he was waiting outside for her! She could not fall behind him! She wanted to be with him forever!
Walking alone with this one will, she finally arrived outside the cavern. Li Qingshan was currently standing on the water, gazing and studying the shape of a cloud. He turned around and smiled. He placed a wild flower he had plucked from somewhere into her boney hand and said, “Let’s go!”
The flower withered, and a smile blossomed.
After over two years of development, the Green Vine mountain had finally recovered some of its past glory.
In a particularly gloomy hall on the top of the Green Vine mountain, the three elders sat together.
The Green Vine elder’s eyebrows and beard had mingled together in even more of a mess. However, his two sagacious eyes gave off a sense of worry.
The Lone Grave elder’s pale face was slightly blue. The Golden Pheasant elder was dressed just like before, in a set of expensive robes, but he lacked the high-spirited vigour of a rooster now.
The three of them had gathered together for once, as recently, they had all been feeling uneasy. Although they did not know divination, they could still connect with the spiritual qi of the world as Foundation Establishment cultivators. Moreover, their insight had grown with their age, and they had weathered countless storms before. They believed this sense of uneasiness was no coincidence.
After quite a while of silence, the Green Vine elder said, “I’m just afraid it’s revenge from underground, so I’ve already contacted the Daemon Suppression alliance.”
The Golden Pheasant elder said, “What? We’re so old already, and yet we still have to seek reinforcements from the Daemon Suppression alliance just because we feel something is off? We’ll become laughing stocks if this makes it out!”
The Lone Grave elder said for once, “That works.” This time, even the Golden Pheasant elder shut up. After a while, he asked, “Have you really sensed something?”
The Lone Grave elder said, “Death.”
The hall became terrifyingly quiet. The Green Vine elder said, “Don’t worry. I’ve already covered the Green Vine mountain with formations. Even a fly won’t be able to make it in…” His expression changed suddenly.
“Someone has made contact with the formation, but they’ve been blocked.”
After a while of silence, the Green Vine elder let out a sigh of relief. “He seems to have left already.”
Before he had even finished speaking, the Golden Pheasant elder turned his ear and listened intently. “Is there some kind of sound?”
The Green Vine elder focused his mind, and sure enough, there was a gentle sound. It was not the cry of a bird, nor was it the buzz of an insect. The three of them sensed around, but they failed to sense the origins of the sound. However, the sound did become significantly louder.
The dust on the ground leapt around happily as the green tea in the cups rippled.
“It’s from below!”
The three of them suddenly leapt up and glanced below.
The Green Vine elder said, “That’s impossible. The formations have covered it even if it’s below. The rocks are as tough as metal. It’s impossible for anyone to burrow over from beneath us.” Under the doubtful, worried gazes of the two other elders, he added, “Not even daemons!”
The shaking became even more violent and even closer.
A hole suddenly appeared somewhere in the floor. Earth twisted in all directions, as if it was being forced apart by something invisible. A huge, pink millipede crawled out, rattling as it circled around the hole; it was as if it was waiting, yet also urging. When it sensed the auras of the three elders, it directly curled up into a ball.
Their past nightmare seemed to come alive all of a sudden. The Golden Pheasant elder exclaimed, “It’s still alive!”
The Green Vine elder’s expression was rather ugly too. It was true. While it did become much smaller, it was definitely still the same Daemon General they had trapped and encircled in the past.