Chapter 420 – All Rivers Converge to the Ocean, Success with Foundation Establishment
In the commandery city of Ruyi, within the great general’s estate.
Han Qiongzhi frowned slightly in worry. This guy actually had not written back immediately after emerging from seclusion. What was he thinking?
“My old cousin, are you thinking about that man again?” A delicate, young girl, around fourteen or fifteen, giggled. She had her hair tied up in buns and was currently standing on a looming, great oak tree.
“Meimei, get down from there!” Han Qiongzhi raised an eyebrow.
“Cousin, people are fickle. He might have already fallen in love with someone else.” Han Meimei leapt down, landing on Han Qiongzhi’s back and wrapping her hand around her neck as she prattled on like an old man.
“You better not talk nonsense. He’s always been a little mysterious. He might have encountered something!”
“Miss Qiongzhi, there’s a letter.”
A caretaker personally delivered a letter. Han Qiongzhi beamed inside, but she suddenly felt like Han Meimei on her back weighed like a boulder. She struggled to take a step forward. Her back lightened again, and Han Meimei flew over, snatching over the letter and giggling. “Come chase me!”
“Give it back!” Frustrated, Han Qiongzhi lunged over as quickly as she could, but she missed. Han Meimei swiveled around and landed on the roof gracefully. “You can’t catch me.”
Han Meimei had reached the tenth layer too. Her cultivation was profound, and her reactions were so fast that they surpassed Han Qiongzhi’s. She was like a monkey, leaping about and dodging through the garden as she opened the letter.
“What? There’s just three words, and the handwriting is so horrid.”
Han Qiongzhi’s heart sank. She roared, “Give it to me, or I’ll tell uncle!”
“Oh my, you’re actually angry! You’ll tell my father just because you can’t catch me. You’re shameless!” Han Meimei leapt over a roof and vanished while the letter drifted down gently, landing in Han Qiongzhi’s hand.
Sure enough, there were only three words written there in a wriggly, crooked manner—Wait for me.
“What the hell is this supposed to be!?” Han Qiongzhi curled her lip, but her eyes were filled with smiles. She pressed the letter against her chest.
“Everyone look! My cousin’s thinking about her man!” Han Meimei emerged from somewhere again. This time, she was carrying a gong, creating a ruckus as she yelled at the top of her lungs.
Han Qiongzhi sighed. Because their cultivations were similar, they had been arranged to cultivate together. It would be strange if she could cultivate in peace like this!
Though, I won’t wait for you. Do you really think I’m supposed to wait for you just because I’m a woman? You’re the one who’s supposed to wait for me. I’ll return to the Clear River prefecture as soon as I successfully establish a foundation.”
It might be dangerous, but that was where her family and her lover were.
Li Qingshan did not enter secluded cultivation again. Instead, he arrived outside the academy, entering an area with some desolate reeds near the banks of the Lake of Dragons and Snakes.
As he gazed at the lake that spanned as far as the eye could see and listened to the rising and falling waves, he could still sense the boundlessness of the ocean even though this was not the sea.
He had studied the first half of the Arts of the Boundless Ocean countless times. Now that he obtained the other half, he no longer hesitated at all. He immediately began cultivating.
Strands of Gui Water true qi were converted into Boundless true qi. Although it was also of the water element, it was many times more turbulent and powerful, like comparing a mountain stream to the billows of the ocean.
There was an extremely high requirement on the elemental affinity of water to practise the Arts of the Boundless Ocean, but this was no problem to Li Qingshan at all. After reaching the third layer of the spirit turtle, he seemed to possess the spirit turtle’s bloodline. His water affinity had completely surpassed the high jia standard that he was tested as back then. He could be described as the perfect person to practise the Arts of the Boundless Ocean.
Ten days later, Li Qingshan converted the final strand of Gui Water true qi in his body into Boundless true qi. Like its name, it really did seem boundless. He finally witnessed the gateway leading to Foundation Establishment.
His mind was unshackled, and his true qi was full. Finally, he took out ten True Spirit pills and placed them in a row.
All rivers converge to the ocean! Li Qingshan bellowed inside.
His eight extraordinary meridians and twelve standard meridians were like rivers that true qi constantly lingered in. Suddenly, it all began to flow into his sea of qi, kicking up turbulent waves in his sea of qi. It actually felt like it had gone beyond his control.
The Boundless true qi cultivated from the Arts of the Boundless Ocean was extremely powerful, but at a time like this, it had instead become a cultivator’s greatest test. If he were unable to control the turbulent true qi, the true qi would burst through the dantian and destroy the cultivator.
The Spirit Turtle Suppresses the Seas!
The spirit turtle’s daemon core glowed brightly, flattening the frenzied sea of qi instantly.
Afterwards, Li Qingshan began to ingest the first True Spirit pill. As soon as it reached his belly, it turned into a strange, flexible aura.
It was like a droplet of divine water landing within the sea of qi before pervading instantly and leading to startling changes. The true qi thickened and became sticky.
If he were a cultivator who had remained at the tenth layer for a very long time like Hua Chengzan or Han Tieyi, just a single True Spirit pill would have sufficed. However, Li Qingshan had cultivated for too brief of a period. He had not accumulated and consolidated his true qi enough, and the Boundless true qi was simply too powerful. As soon as the effects of the True Spirit pill began to kick in, they began to disperse.
Li Qingshan halted and immediately consumed a second True Spirit pill to ensure that the effects would linger. Since he was unable to use the regular method, he would use the most forceful method to overcome this obstacle.
Just like that, he ingested nine True Spirit pills consecutively.
Not a single strand of true qi flowed through his dantian anymore, as all of the true qi had frozen into ice. The sea of qi had become a sea of ice.
The corner of Li Qingshan’s lips curled up. He stowed the final True Spirit pill away. It was already time.
Cracks appeared on the sea of ice before it shattered loudly. An aura much purer and much more refined rushed up; it ignored the existence of the meridians and went straight into Li Qingshan’s mind.
In that instant, everything was clear. His mind was transparent.
Li Qingshan understood that he had finally opened up a sea of consciousness, which was also known as a violet palace, lingtian, or spiritual field. From now onwards, he would be able to use soul sense. He would be able to sense and control the spiritual qi of the world as a human. However, this feeling was not unfamiliar to Li Qingshan at all.
Normally, the heavenly tribulation would descend right now.
A fierce gust of wind arrived, making the reeds bend over. The water rippled endlessly.
Li Qingshan looked around, but sure enough, a second heavenly tribulation did not descend. He could fool humans and daemons, but he was unable to fool the heavens. The number of tribulations of the heavens were no more and no less, treating all as equals. Since Li Qingshan had already gone through it, it would not descend again.
Ever since the war between humans and daemons unfolded, the academy would hold routine meetings between the school leaders. The person who hosted them was no longer Liu Zhangqing anymore, but Wei Yangsheng, who had also reached Foundation Establishment. Liu Zhangqing had not fallen in battle, instead devoting his efforts to doing a better job as the prefect.
The school leaders had been replaced by many new faces. Among those three years, many original primary disciples had taken the most important step in their lives, reaching Foundation Establishment. Reaching Foundation Establishment was anything but easy, but since they could become primary disciples, they were talented. As long as they did not suffer from any particularly large mental shackles and spent sufficient time, they would all be able to take this step sooner or later.
The leaders of the schools of Legalism and the Military had become Hua Chengzan and Han Tieyi. Wang Pushi and Han Anjun now focused on the matters of the Hawkwolf Guard and the military.
“School leader Liu, I’ve heard that Qingshan has already emerged from secluded cultivation, so why didn’t he come with you?” Wei Yangsheng frowned and asked before the meeting. The primary disciples would listen along in the meetings too. Sitting behind Wei Yangsheng was Chu Tian.
“Qingshan said he wanted to break through to Foundation Establishment…” Before Liu Chuanfeng could even finish, Chu Tian sneered. “Don’t tell me he’s gone into hiding again!”
Primary disciples originally had no authority to speak arbitrarily, but Chu Tian had reached the highest realm of Qi Practitioner, the tenth layer, and he had made quite a name for himself during the three years. With the power of the Palm of the Five Elements, he had slayed many daemons. Even when he came across regular Daemon Generals, he would be able to escape easily. He would definitely become a powerful Foundation Establishment cultivator in the future, and they all knew about his pettiness, so no one wanted to offend him.
Moreover, Chu Tian had spoken the minds of many people present. All of them knew that safety was no longer a concept that existed for Qi Practitioners in this day and age. Who hadn’t emerged from these circumstances? Why are you allowed to cultivate in peace while others risk their lives in battle?
“Can you really call breaking through the ninth and tenth layers in three years running away?” Liu Chuanfeng rebuked with a flushed face.
“Chu Tian, shut your mouth.” Wei Yangsheng silenced Chu Tian, but he asked instead, “School leader Liu, Qingshan has only just broken through to the tenth layer recently! Now he’s making preparations for Foundation Establishment. How long will that take? Don’t tell me it’s another few years? Could you perhaps convince him that cultivation isn’t all about seclusion? The academy just happens to be in need of manpower. If he acts like this, it won’t be a good influence. Regular disciples all have an issue with this.”
“What a pair of fleeing lovers,” said a chubby, middle-aged man in silken clothes sarcastically from a corner. It was not just regular disciples who had an issue with this. The leader of the school of Miscellany, Gou Dai, had an issue with it too. The school of Miscellany was similar to the school of Novels. It was also a lower school of thought, unskilled with battle. They never had a lot of disciples in the first place, and they had lost quite a few during the chaos of war.
Moreover, the primary disciple that he had high hopes for died at the hands of daemons last year. He was forced to stand with a group of juniors from the past, which he struggled to accept. He was infuriated the moment he heard Li Qingshan’s name. If his disciple was in secluded cultivation too, how would he have died?
Han Qiongzhi left, and Li Qingshan remained in secluded cultivation. They earned themselves the nickname of “fleeing lovers” within the academy.
“Please don’t insult him, senior,” Han Tieyi raised a straight eyebrow of his and said coldly.
“That’s how all the disciples in the academy refer to them! You’re welcome to kill all the disciples for this, school leader Han!” Gou Dai continued to fume, but his voice did grow a lot softer.
“Qingshan has his plans. If the academy can gain another Foundation Establishment cultivator, that’ll be far better than a tenth layer Qi Practitioner. Let’s continue discussing our future strategy instead!” Hua Chengzan stood up to mediate the bickering.
“That’s not necessarily true. Why don’t we look at who has killed more daemons instead?” Chu Tian was peeved off by that.
The other primary disciples refused to accept this too. They had all spent a much longer time in the academy than Li Qingshan, so why was he supposed to receive special treatment?
Just when Hua Chengzan was about to defend Li Qingshan, a tremendous aura shot over swiftly from afar. It was a Foundation Establishment cultivator.
The room fell silent. Had an original school leader returned? However, the aura did not resemble any one of them.
It had arrived so quickly!
As they pondered, the aura descended from above, and the door was flung open. Li Qingshan strode in and looked around, arriving in the corner and sitting down behind Liu Chuanfeng.