Chapter 426 – The Eight Gates of Golden Locks, the Illusory Water of Invisibility
“That’s because I’m talented,” Li Qingshan laughed loudly. A rainbow stretched over behind him as the sunlight shone resplendently.
“I’m not different then,” Ru Xin said in an exasperated manner. “If you want me to refine pills, then keep your mouth shut.” Leaping up, she stepped onto a verdant leaf and drifted off in the wind.
Li Qingshan followed behind her on a cloud, unable to help himself as he studied her back. Merfolk were also one of the otherfolk. They resided in water, mainly around the shore of the South sea. They were beautiful and good at singing, able to spin water into silk, and their tears could become pearls.
The Mist province was much larger than the Green province. He was unable to imagine how she had managed to traverse almost fifty thousand kilometers to settle down here. After seeing her true form, she had only become even more mysterious.
“Alright, alright. I’m half-Merfolk. What do you think of it?” Ru Xin was unable to put up with Li Qingshan’s gaze anymore, so she suddenly stopped the verdant leaf and spoke up in annoyance.
“Nothing really. Actually, you were quite beautiful just then, especially your eyes,” Li Qingshan said sincerely. Perhaps because they condensed the essence of nature, there were many races of otherfolk known for their beauty, while the Merfolk were among the most beautiful. It was said that their eyes possessed a mysterious power, and direct eye contact had to be avoided, or it could enchant people.
Ru Xin’s heart skipped a beat. She found Li Qingshan to be very strange. When regular people saw otherfolk, they would either be shocked and surprised or they would be repulsed. He did not react like that at all, which made her feel closer to him. Her nervousness and anxiety settled down. She pointed at her eyes with a smile. “The Condensed Jade pearls refined from my eyes are priceless.”
Li Qingshan was taken aback before sneering. “And I had thought it was something impressive. There’s something on me that’s worth much more than your pair of beads.”
Ru Xin had originally mentioned it to test him, but she never expected him to get competitive instead. She had no idea on how to respond. She was rather curious about what he was talking about, but the phrase “beads down below” suddenly crossed her mind, which made her take off.
Li Qingshan was perplexed. I’m talking about my daemon core. What were you thinking of?
A hundred and fifty kilometers south-west of Clear River city were a few dozen mountains that rose and fell. They were known as the Chain mountains. They were not exactly a blessed land, but spiritual qi was abundant, which made it a good place to cultivate.
The two of them moved through the enshrouding mist and landed on a cliff face. Ru Xin waved her hand, and the scenery before them twisted, revealing the entrance to a dwelling. Two large words were engraved above, “Ru Xin”.
Li Qingshan smiled. Boldly labelling the entrance with her own name really did suit her.
“Please, fellow Li.” Ru Xin made a gesture for him to come in.
The cave was complete with stone tables and chairs. Everything was arranged neatly and elegantly in nature, without a speck of dust. The curling incense only made the place even more otherworldly.
Ru Xin said, “Do you want tea? If you don’t, I’m not going to bother. You’re not having any, right?”
Li Qingshan smiled. “I’ll have some.”
As Ru Xin prepared the tea, Li Qingshan did not hold back and inspected the entire place, in and out. Suddenly, he heard a clatter in the front room, and Ru Xin yelled out, “Li Qingshan, get your ass over for your tea.”
Li Qingshan returned to the room, picked up the tea cup, and took a small sip. He said slowly, “This place might be peaceful and quiet, but if a daemon attacks, it’ll be bad.”
“The formations can last for a while and sending a distress signal to the academy is very convenient too. Moreover, it’s not like I’m made out of paper, completely useless. Let’s not talk about this. Take out the remaining Blue Butterfly flowers. With my current ability, refining a few True Spirit pills won’t take very long at all.” Ru Xin brushed him off.
Li Qingshan placed down the tea cup and opened his hundred treasures pouch. Blue Butterfly flowers fluttered out rapidly, but that was not the end of it. Then he took out the spiritual herbs he had collected underground one by one.
“Thousand-year Dark Blood ginseng, thousand-year milkvetch…” Ru Xin was taken aback as she appraised the spiritual herbs one by one. Her eyes lit up. She had refined pills for so long, so she had seen quite a large variety of spiritual herbs. However, all of these spiritual herbs were either millenium-old or centuries-old. Every single one of them were spiritual herbs people could only dream of, yet Li Qingshan had pulled them out like vegetables. She had even forgotten how to speak for a moment.
“Alright, just these for now.”
“Fellow Li, please have some tea.” Ru Xin smiled softly and lifted up the tea cup.
“Right here!” Li Qingshan snorted and opened his mouth.
“Sigh, to think you’d actually believe me.” Ru Xin threw the cup on the table before picking up the spiritual herbs and carefully examining them. “Where did you get all these spiritual… Forget it. Heh, we’re rich. Looks like my two years of doing good hasn’t gone to waste.”
The two of them arrived in the alchemy room. Ru Xin took out the Crystal Resin cauldron before taking out various spiritual herbs. She immediately began refining.
Li Qingshan backed out silently. Ru Xin looked back. “Where are you going?”
“I’m off to set up a dwelling.”
Li Qingshan had plans to set up a dwelling a long time ago. There were too many prying eyes in the academy, which really made cultivation inconvenient. It was even more so when it came to his daemon cultivation. After seeing Ru Xin’s dwelling today, he made up his mind.
“You’re not going to watch this time?”
“I’m too busy. No time.”
“Don’t blame me if any pills go missing.”
“That’s fine. I’ll just kill the donkey once it’s done its job. Even you won’t be able to escape.” Li Qingshan waved his hand without even looking back.
Ru Xin was slightly surprised as she quipped, “You’re the donkey.” Li Qingshan had already made his way out of the dwelling, and his laughter gradually vanished. Originally, she thought he would spend some time with her refining pills, and it would be rather troublesome, but she never expected him to leave so eagerly, which instead made her feel rather lonely.
She suddenly smiled. He was clearly so deeply shrouded with mysteries, yet she never doubted him and thought he would actually turn against her and show no mercy. Even just thirty percent of the pills refined from these spiritual herbs were enough for any two cultivation sects to turn against each other and declare war.
She shook her head and dismissed these thoughts. Sitting with her legs crossed, she activated the Crystal Resin cauldron and began refining pills.
Li Qingshan returned to the academy and notified Liu Chuanfeng about how he wanted to set up a dwelling outside. Afterwards, he found Xiao An. “Have you already spoken with Qian Rongzhi?”
“Yep. She’s already gathered around seventy or eighty thousand.”
“So quickly?” Li Qingshan was surprised.
As it turned out, collecting corpses was not all that Qian Rongzhi did during these years. She had done plenty of backstabbing and killing too. She had accumulated forty or fifty Corpse Soldiers within her possession alone, and they were all elites that had been carefully refined. She sold off all the other corpses of lower quality, or she probably would have possessed a hundred and ten or twenty thousand corpses. And, she was well acquainted in the academy, so she could gather seventy or eighty thousand just by asking around, which she passed onto Xiao An for now.
“She didn’t accept the spiritual stones. She said she would find you instead.”
“That works too.” Li Qingshan rubbed Xiao An’s head. He thought about how it really had been a correct decision to leave this matter to her. “Let’s go set up a dwelling!”
“Home.” Xiao An repeated softly. Her heart created by the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty suddenly heated up. She nodded firmly. “Alright!”
Just as the two of them were about to leave, Hua Chengzan and Han Tieyi arrived together. One of them possessed a picturesque appearance, as handsome as ever, while the other had a pair of straight eyebrows and twinkling eyes, radiating with valiance. After undergoing the heavenly tribulation, they became even more enchanting. As they stood together, they were like two perfect pieces of jade.
Li Qingshan went up to receive them. “What brought you here?”
“Qingshan, I heard you wanted to set up a dwelling. Do you need our help?” Hua Chengzan said enthusiastically. Han Tieyi never liked talking, so he just stood there coldly.
“There’s no need. Isn’t it just digging out a cave?”
“You can’t say that. You can’t go without formations if you want to set up a dwelling. This Eight Gates Formation of Golden Locks might not be the best formation, but it should be enough to protect your dwelling. You can call it a gift for succeeding with Foundation Establishment.” Hua Chengzan was just speaking modestly. The Eight Gates Formation of Golden Locks cost tens of thousand spiritual stones at the very least. Even Foundation Establishment cultivators would struggle to destroy it if they were alone. Moreover, it could lock in spiritual qi, such that even regular mountains would become fantastic places to cultivate as time went on.
Li Qingshan was touched. He accepted the entire set of formation discs and banners. Right now, he did not exactly lack a few tens of thousand spiritual stones, but all of it came from unknown sources. If he spent them carelessly, it was very easy for him to draw suspicion. Hua Chengzan’s formation was basically giving him exactly what he needed when he needed it, but there was nothing he could give back in return. Everything he carried on him was stolen goods.
Suddenly, he thought of something. He took out the strange catfish’s daemon core that he had just obtained from his hundred treasures pouch. “It would be rude of me to not reciprocate. Please take this.”
Hua Chengzan and Han Tieyi’s gazes were drawn over. Hua Chengzan accepted the daemon core and said in surprise, “This is a Daemon General’s daemon core. Where did you get this?”
Li Qingshan told him the entire story. Han Tieyi’s eyes flashed as he stared at him. Hua Chengzan said, “I’ve heard about this daemon too. It’s already flooded many cities and towns. I never thought it would die to your hands.”
Apart from gift-giving, he had come to persuade Li Qingshan to not cultivate single-mindedly and forget about the matters of the academy and the Hawkwolf Guard, but never did he expect him to kill a Daemon General right off the bat, so what else could he say? Even if he entered seclusion for another year or two, no one could criticise him.
And, the value of the daemon core surpassed the worth of the Eight Gates Formation of the Golden Locks. He fiddled around with it before returning it to Li Qinshan. “I haven’t come to make an exchange, so why would I want your daemon core? If you don’t have a use for it, I can purchase it from you, but you cultivate the water element, and the daemon core’s the water element too, so it suits you the most! You better keep it for yourself!”
Li Qingshan was actually very reluctant to give it away too. Since Hua Chengzan had said that, he just obliged and stowed the daemon core away. As long as his cultivation could increase, did he have to worry about not being able to pay him back?
“Brother-in-law, where’s your gift?” Li Qingshan teased.
Sure enough, Han Tieyi rummaged through his hundred treasures pouch and seemed to pull out something, but his hands were empty.
Li Qingshan squinted his eyes. Only after careful observation did he make out a transparent sword around a meter long. Although it did not glow at all, Li Qingshan could clearly sense it was a supreme grade spiritual artifact.
Hua Chengzan smiled. “This Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility comes from general Han’s personal collection. When you use it, both the wielder and the sword can turn invisible, making it a perfect weapon for secret assassinations. He’s basically accepting you as his son-in-law, Qingshan.”
“My father’s never said that,” Han Tieyi said. Hua Chengzan ignored him and asked, “Where do you plan on setting up your dwelling?”
“The Chain mountains.”
“Isn’t that…” Hua Chengzan shut his mouth and glanced at Han Tieyi.
Han Tieyi was just about to pass the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility to Li Qingsan when he suddenly tightened his grip and pulled it back. Li Qingshan grabbed his arm. “Brother-in-law, how can you take back something you’ve given out? This is a gift from my dear father-in-law.”
Han Tieyi tried to pull his hand back, but it did not even budge. He was secretly surprised. What strength!
Li Qingshan smiled. “Don’t mess around. Don’t forget, you still owe me a punch!”
“Come get it!” Han Tieyi threw a punch. He had wanted to clash against Li Qingshan since a long time ago.