Chapter 447 – Yu Zijian’s Changes
“How can I accept that?” Sun Fubai declined immediately.
“Just take a look!” Li Qingshan shut him up and shoved the jade slip into his hands.
Sun Fubai thought, His straightforwardness really resembles that person a little. Most people treat a special cultivation method like a treasure the moment they get their hands on one. They’d never show it to someone else so easily.
Sun Fubai skimmed through it before passing the jade slip back. “Sure enough, the power of this cultivation method is startling. The most special part about it is it suits your character very much, Qingshan. It’ll definitely achieve glory in your hands.”
“I believe the school of Novels will also achieve glory in your hands, Fubai.” Li Qingshan placed a True Spirit pill into Sun Fubai’s hand.
“T- that’s far too precious! I really can’t accept it this time!”
“It’s all thanks to your efforts over all these years that I’ve managed to gather so much power of belief. If the school of Novels could gain another Foundation Establishment cultivator, what can’t we handle as long as the three of us work together?”
They conversed a little more before Li Qingshan left the city, arriving by the banks of the Lake of Dragons and Snakes. He gazed at the swathe of reeds and thought back to the times he spent there with Han Qiongzhi. He thought to himself, I wonder how Qiongzhi is doing. Has she established a foundation yet?
He sat down within the veil-like mist and took out the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility. He stroked the blade gently and produced rings of rippling light. Both the sword and he vanished completely.
He dismissed his thoughts and sank into his sea of qi. The lively water spiritual energy was like the surging ocean. Within the sea was a Divine Talisman of Great Creation, which seemed slightly dull. Ever since he established a foundation, he had been busy, primarily focusing on the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine. Now, he could finally settle down and push his cultivation of the Divine Talisman of Great Creation forward.
The sea of qi surged violently as waves flew out from the surface of the ocean one after another, circling around the Divine Talisman of Great Creation. The rings formed a ball of water, like a great cocoon, which gradually seeped into the Divine Talisman of Great Creation.
By late morning, the mist gradually dispersed.
The ball of water condensed in Li Qingshan’s body shattered loudly. The Divine Talisman of Great Creation shone brightly as the twisted inscriptions became even more complicated and profound. Within the surging light, everything seemed to appear, whether it be plants, birds or beasts. It contained anything and everything.
Li Qingshan appeared out of nowhere. He surged and distorted before turning invisible again. A jackdaw appeared out of nowhere, standing on thin air.
Li Qingshan stared at the jackdaw on his wrist. He had conjured it using the Divine Talisman of Great Creation. Sure enough, it was absolutely remarkable, like it was real.
Imbuing it with some of his soul sense, he raised his arm, and the jackdaw took off. There was a ruffle of features and countless jackdaws scattered in the sky, turning into black specks.
Li Qingshan felt like he had the compound eyes of insects. Countless images merged together to form the scenery of the entire Lake of Dragons and Snakes, like he had set up countless cameras. It covered a startlingly large range.
Conjuring these jackdaws had not taken much power of belief. The glow from the Divine Talisman of Great Creation had only dimmed slightly before being replenished by newly-gained power of belief. However, the range that his soul sense could cover experienced a drastic increase. Although he could not use it for close investigations, he could see and hear.
In the academy, a group of young disciples passed through the Formation of Dragons and Snakes as specks, crossing through the lake and arriving on the banks. A jackdaw descended from the sky, landing on a bare branch. Its pitch-black, pea-sized eyes reflected their figures.
Through its eyes, Li Qingshan spotted Hua Chenglu immediately. She had become even more beautiful. Dressed in scarlet clothes, she was like a rose in full bloom, giving off an enchanting fragrance that drew in butterflies and bees. The eyes of the male disciples nearby were basically glued to her as they greeted her, trying to catch her attention.
She smiled at them like equals, giving off a sisterly bearing of bravery. She no longer possessed a hint of immaturity anymore. Time had slipped by before she knew it, turning this girl who once feigned maturity into what she had wanted to become.
“Zijian, let’s go!” Hua Chenglu said gently. Only then did she show some real gentleness.
“Alright,” Yu Zijian said softly.
“How did she become like this?” Li Qingshan frowned slightly. He saw Yu Zijian with her hair tied up. She was dressed in the robes of a daoist priest, carrying a sword. It made her seem slim and graceful, like a feeble willow in the incoming wind.
However, she no longer resembled the her of the past very much anymore. She had lost the radiance she had in his memories, becoming silent and quiet. Her brows were constantly furrowed, as if she was constantly worried. With her head lowered, she seemed like something loomed over her mind constantly.
She was also a woman in her prime, but due to her lack of radiance, she was an orchid that sagged due to the rain and dew.
“Junior sister Yu, this must be your first time out for a mission, right? Being a little nervous is unavoidable. Don’t worry, it’s just a few daemonic beasts. There won’t be any danger.” Sun Yi patted his chest. He was also a disciple of the school of Daoism, having reached the eighth layer of Qi Practitioner. His cultivation was the highest among the group. Although he did not show it, he did treat Yu Zijian with some contempt inside.
Even geniuses like Chu Tian would constantly be sent on missions, facing the same danger as other disciples. He could no longer recall how much danger he had faced or how many deaths of juniors and seniors he had witnessed already.
Yet, Yu Zijian had been placed in protection the entire time. All she had to do was cultivate on Wuwei island, yet she achieved absolutely nothing in these three years. She was only a seventh layer Qi Practitioner. She had failed to live up to her title as a genius.
“It’s the second time.” Yu Zijian’s voice was very soft such that Sun Yi missed it. “What?”
“It’s my second mission.” Yu Zijian raised her voice slightly.
“Are you talking about that time?” Sun Yi and the other cultivators could not help but scoff slightly. Sun Yi even felt slightly disgusted and discontent inside. He never thought she would still bother to bring up the mission from last time that had embarrassed the entire school of Daoism.
On Wuwei island, the slovenly daoist priest gazed over from a high vantage point and furrowed his brows slightly. His robes were just as faded and shabby as before, but his cultivation had grown deeper. He had already become recognised as the figure most likely to undergo the second heavenly tribulation within all of Clear River prefecture.
He gazed in the direction which Yu Zijian had left in and patted the stone railing gently. “Zijian, oh Zijian!”
Three years ago, he had personally arranged the training mission that time. He had even shut down Hua Chengzan’s objections with curses. The edge of treasured swords had to be polished. Experiences like this were very crucial to cultivators, and it was just a simple investigation mission.
However, the end result was completely beyond his expectations. When she returned from that mission, she had become scared out of her wits. Rumors rose up in the academy that the genius of the school of Daoism had been frightened out of her mind. She made a very great fool out of herself, as if she was trying to prove that no matter how great a person’s talent was, it would be useless if they were lacking mentally.
As a result, he stopped forcing her to do anything, and she stopped undertaking missions. She remained on Wuwei island the entire time cultivating, yet her cultivation did not take a single step forward all the way until now.
Hua Chenglu grabbed Yu Zijian’s hand. It felt icy-cold.
“I’m the leader of the mission now, so the orders will all come from me. Outside isn’t safe like the academy. If you’re afraid, it’s best if you back out right now.” Sun Yi subconsciously glanced at Yu Zijian again.
The group took off on their own artifacts. Soon after they had left, the jackdaw let out a cry and rose into the sky. Li Qingshan leapt up and tailed behind them. The mist around her became even thicker. Just what had she gone through?
This doubt even became a form of anger. He held extremely special feelings for her.
Hua Chenglu glanced back at Yu Zijian and felt even more ashamed. She thought back to three years ago. That was a small city two hundred kilometers west of Clear River city, which experienced a great plague. Due to the traces of daemon qi, they suspected it to be the work of daemons, so they sent them over to investigate.
It was not a particularly dangerous mission. Powerful daemons were not ones to snoop around like that, and Hua Chenglu had plenty of life-saving medicines and talismans on hand. As long as they did not run into a Daemon General, there should not have been too many problems, no matter how dire the situation became.
“Ma’am, the people who have fallen ill are all here.” Under a grey-robed old man’s lead, Yu Zijian stepped into a gloomy clinic with the afternoon sun on her back. With the sword on her back, she seemed valiant and completely incorruptible.
The clinic was deathly silent. There were no moans or groans at all. Countless men and women lay strewn on the ground. They did not even respond when Yu Zijian walked past them, as if they had already accepted their fate, awaiting their deaths. They gave off a rotting smell prematurely.
Hua Chenglu hated the smell, so she stood in the sun within the courtyard.
The old man served up tea. “Please have some tea, ma’am.”
Hua Chenglu accepted the tea. Just when she was about to take a sip, she glanced at the old man. He stared fixedly at the cup in her hand, and when he noticed Hua Chenglu glancing over, he forced out a smile, wanting to express good will, but it only made him even more sinister.
Hua Chenglu remembered Hua Chengzan’s warnings. She took out a jade needle and placed it in the tea. The needle did not respond. She found her overcautiousness to be rather funny. It would only be strange if she were in a good mood with so many sick people around, but she also felt slightly proud over her own cautiousness. She said to the old man, “Don’t worry, we will find the source of the plague.”
She took a sip of the tea before looking over at the clinic. She saw Yu Zijian frowning as she inspected every patient. She found her diligence to be rather admirable.
Yu Zijian checked another sick man and raised her head, speaking confidently, “They all have very faint traces of daemon qi.” The moment she raised her head, a black spot swam across the whites of the man’s eyes.
“Then you don’t need to be so meticulous. I have a Daemon Searching compass. We’ll find the daemon and finish it off.” Hua Chenglu pulled out a compass-like spiritual artifact from her hundred treasures pouch.
Daemons could hide their daemon qi, but they would always leave behind some faint traces. The Daemon Searching compass could sniff out these traces just like a hunting hound and find where the daemon was. It was extremely flexible.
The compass needle spun wildly, which made Hua Chenglu frown. Daemon qi was everywhere, interfering with the compass. However, as the needle spun, it finally stabilised, pointing towards the entrance of the clinic.
Hua Chenglu turned around and said to the old man, “Move over.”
The old man backed down to one side with his head lowered. Hua Chenglu said, “Thanks. Zijian, let’s go!” Picking up the tea cup, she made her way out of the courtyard, but the moment she brushed past the old man, the compass needle spun and locked onto the old man firmly.
Hua Chenglu’s expression changed. She tossed aside the tea cup and reached towards the blade on her waist. She called out, “Zijian, be careful! The daemon is right here!”
The tea cup was smashed to pieces and tea splashed everywhere. There was a black speck, even smaller than a needlepoint, on the tea leaves.
Outside the clinic, the old man’s face gradually twisted into a vicious smile that did not belong to a human. His teeth protruded from his mouth, radiating with daemon qi.
In the clinic, all the sick patients climbed up like zombies.