Chapter 449 – Blue Bird
Li Qingshan rode on the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility, flying through the air and tailing them far behind. The speed at which a group of Qi Practitioners could fly was simply too slow in his eyes. He was tempted to take them along with him.
If it were not him but some other Foundation Establishment cultivator, they would never bother with a mission like this. Towards the end, he just laid down on the sword and closed his eyes, beginning to practise the Arts of the Boundless Ocean.
After reaching the fourth layer of the spirit turtle, he could connect with the water spiritual qi in the surroundings as easily as eating or drinking. Endless spiritual energy gathered in his dantian, powering the sea of qi to produce ebbing waves.
Four hours later, Li Qingshan opened his eyes, and the spiritual energy within his sea of qi had become very plentiful, constantly churning away. The cultivation had been startlingly effective.
Just like the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression, his cultivation of the Arts of the Boundless Ocean had reached the fourth layer, basically early Foundation Establishment. As long as he continued cultivating like this, breaking through to the fifth layer would just be a matter of time.
This obviously was not just due to the spirit turtle’s daemon core. The cultivation speed of humans had always exceeded that of daemons. A thousand years of bitter cultivation for a daemon might have only been equivalent to a century or two of cultivation from a talented human. They were not joking when they called humans the paragon of animals.
However, any old daemon, even a tiny one, could live for a few centuries. Even human Foundation Establishment cultivators could not come close. These were the unique advantages that they could only envy one another over.
Li Qingshan practised as both, so he could feel the differences even better. He truly could not underestimate the cultivation of humans at all. If it were not for the constant ingestion of pills, his cultivation as a human probably would have vastly superseded his cultivation as a daemon already.
And, in the future, it would definitely become more and more difficult to obtain pills. By then, even if Li Qingshan became very powerful, enough to hold large-scale massacres for spoils, the pills that could satisfy him would still become rarer.
Perhaps by then, his daemon side would have to depend on his human side.
At this moment, Yu Zijian and the others on the ground finally arrived at the tiny city for their mission. Li Qingshan immediately sensed a tiny daemonic beast hidden in there. It might have been an extremely vicious monster to regular people, but it did not pose any threat to them at all.
People poured in and out of the city. It could be regarded as rather busy. Clearly, a single daemonic beast was not enough to uproot their lives completely. Daemons wanted to eat people, but clearly they had to stay alive first.
This bustling sight also made Yu Zijian recall the past. She subconsciously gripped the hilt of her sword as she stared into the emptiness before her.
Li Qingshan simply stood there. In that instant, he thought she had discovered something, but he soon realised she was only blanking out. Gazing at her face that had visibly become thinner, he could not help but take pity on her. Zijian, oh Zijian. What has happened to you?
Hua Chenglu fished out the Daemon Searching compass and determined the location of the daemonic beast very soon. However, the daemonic beast was rather clever. It had already burrowed an escape tunnel in the ground. As soon as it caught a whiff of them, it immediately dove into the ground.
However, these people seemed to be well-prepared for a situation like this. Most of the daemons came from underground, so all of them knew how to burrow through the earth. If they could not even track them down, what were they hunting daemons for?
Hua Chenglu patted her hundred treasures pouch, and a few mechanical snakes flew out, waving their heads and tails about. They shone with a metallic lustre as the segments of their bodies curled up before pouncing out vigorously like a spring. They shot into the tunnel in pursuit.
The mohist ideology had always been about love and pacifism, but their engineering could be pushed to the limits through war. They could create powerful mechanisms and puppets that could deal with various circumstances. Because they did not have any particularly high requirements on the user, and they could be adjusted to various cultivation levels, there was an extremely high demand for them across the Clear River prefecture.
As the machines of war were created in the mohist factories one by one, any ideology would become worthless. Only existence and victory held meaning.
Before long, the mechanical snakes choked the daemonic beast to death and returned to the surface. They lost two of the snakes, and the mission was completed.
Fate was unpredictable. Sometimes, catastrophe would seem imminent, but it would take a turn for the better and become a blessing instead. Yet other times, it would feel like smooth sailing, only to run into an unfathomable storm and capsize.
Everyone let out a sigh of relief and began to discuss how they would split the remains of the daemonic beast. These items were worth quite a lot. The bones could be ground into dust for refining pills, while the hide could be used for forging artifacts. Even the flesh had a use. If it were consumed regularly, it would bring countless benefits to the body.
A series of cheers rose up from the surroundings. The people of the city all viewed them as heroes. Only Yu Zijian continued to grip her sword, lowering her head with a frown. What she heard instead was countless wails as those people she had cut down rolled about and took their last breaths.
At this moment, a crisp song jerked her back to her senses. A blue bird landed on her shoulder, singing happily like it was completely unafraid of humans. It was lively and touching.
Just when Yu Zijian extended her hand over, the blue bird used its vermillion beak to peck the tip of her finger gently. She could not help but smile.
“It’s not afraid of humans. Don’t tell me it’s a daemon!” Sun Yi said cautiously.
“How’s that possible? It doesn’t have any daemon qi. It was probably a pet that managed to escape. Seems like it likes you very much, Zijian.” Hua Chenglu saw her smile for once, and she felt happy inside too.
Li Qingshan stood nearby, smiling to himself.
They did not encounter any accidents. After contacting the academy, a new mission arrived very soon. It was already late now, so they decided to rest for the night. They would undertake their necessary daily cultivation and set off tomorrow.
All was silent in the dead of night. Hua Chenglu sat with her legs crossed. After completing her cultivation, she saw Yu Zijian seated by the window, leaning against her arms as she played around with the blue bird.
Hua Chenglu responded to that, “Zijian, you’re not cultivating?”
“There’s no hurry. I’ll do it later. It seems to like me very much.” Yu Zijian touched the blue bird’s feathers. The moonlight scattered across the window sill as she smiled gently.
Hua Chenglu wanted to say something, but she faltered. She made up her mind in the end and said, “Zijian, let’s go back!”
“Why?” Yu Zijian asked in confusion.
“Do you know why my brother has suddenly permitted you to undertake these missions? It’s so he can use you to force out the Sword Collection palace. If this continues, you’ll be in danger.” Hua Chenglu finally gave into her inner guilt and cast down a formation in the room before telling her the truth.
However, the blue bird continued to flap its wings, remaining in Yu Zijian’s hand. After a careful inspection from Hua Chenglu, she had confirmed it was just a regular bird, without anything special at all.
Li Qingshan sat on the eaves and became slightly surprised. Why is Zijian connected to that bastard? How’s it possible to force him out with just her?
“Using me?” Yu Zijian had almost forgotten about the man who fished with his sword. Now that she thought of it, he had wanted to take her to the Sword Collection palace in the past.
“The Sword Collection palace seems to have destined you as the successor of the Violet Clouds sword among the Ten Renowned Swords. The Violet Clouds sword and the Green Ruins sword come as a pair of yin and yang swords. Once one emerges, they both emerge. Their fates are deeply intertwined. Even if a few thousand or a few million people die, Fu Qingjin might not necessarily care, but if you are in danger, it’ll definitely force him to take action, which will end this stalemate and earn the academy an upper hand in their disputes with the Daemon Suppression alliance,” Hua Chenglu said in one breath.
Li Qingshan had already become filled with shock. He never expected Yu Zijian’s fate with the Sword Collection palace to actually run so deeply. If this were the case, his mission made complete sense.
Oh right, and that shitty pair of yin and yang swords or whatever it was. Suddenly, it brought Li Qingshan great displeasure. How is that bastard Fu Qingjin worthy of her? What fate? Watch as I dismantle this fate!
However, he soon thought of something and became rather confused. Fu Qingjin had arrived in the Clear River prefecture a long time ago, so why hadn’t he taken her to the Sword Collection palace already, idling away here instead? Even an idiot would know that cultivating in the Sword Collection palace was much better.
Yu Zijian smiled. “I see. Chenglu, thank you for telling me. Thank you for accompanying me.”
Hua Chenglu said, “You’re forbidden from thanking me. You’ve saved my life! Why don’t we leave right now? I’ll go talk with my brother. If it doesn’t work out, you can just go find Fu Qingjin. You can stop thinking about that Niu Juxia or whoever it is. Didn’t your father say he’s safe and sound? You can’t wait around here for your entire life for him, right?”
Li Qingshan came to a sudden understanding. As it turned out, she had remained behind for him. His emotions surged inside as warmth filled his heart. He was tempted to leap out right now and tell her his identity so that she would stop worrying.
However, upon further consideration, he held himself back. It was not just for the mission, or for concealing his identity. If she really stopped worrying, wouldn’t that mean she would return to the Sword Collection palace with Fu Qingjin?
Yu Zijian smiled softly with some of her radiance of the past. “Chenglu, aren’t you afraid of your brother Chengzan the most?”
“Since when have I been afraid of him? If I tell him to do something, he’ll never defy me. It’s all his fault this time for coming up with such a bad idea. I’ll get him to apologise to you once I get back. Let’s not talk about this anymore. Let’s go!” Hua Chenglu’s face reddened as she said in disdain.
Yu Zijian shook her head firmly and declined. “Chenglu, you should go back. You shouldn’t accompany me! I don’t blame your brother. I feel rather grateful to him instead. If I had a use like this, why can’t I be used?”
Hua Chenglu grabbed Yu Zijian’s hand. “What are you saying? It’s all because of me that you’ve already… If you get hurt further, I really don’t know what I’ll do.”
Yu Zijian said seriously, “Niu Juxia told me to make proper decisions and not be indecisive like my mother, or I’ll end up regretting it. I’ve never regretted saving you. Even if I could choose again, I’d go with the same choice. Now, this is my choice too.”
Li Qingshan sighed slightly. She had truly grown up, and she treated what he had said so seriously. He smiled in a self-deprecating manner and gazed at the moon. Making choices was easy, but just how many people could bear the burden of their choices?
Hua Chenglu felt rather relieved. She sat back down on the bed. “Alright, I can’t win against you. To think you’d actually believe in what that big, dark-skinned man said. However, don’t send me away. This is my choice too. If we really come into actual danger, then we can go out together on the same day.” Then she pouted and said, “What Fu Qingjin? I think we should just stick together. That’ll be more like it.”
Yu Zijian smiled. “Then, why don’t we become sisters?”
Hua Chenglu’s eyes lit up. “Alright! However, I have to be the older one. I’ve already had enough being the younger sister.”
On the window, the blue bird let out a clear cry and flew off into the night sky.