Chapter 468 – Only Tomorrow is Worth Looking Forward to, Only Today is Worth Treasuring
“What happened here?” Han Anjun’s face sank as he asked sternly.
“I ran into some trouble along the way…” Li Qingshan gave them a rough overview about Dragonsnail’s ambush and hid the detail that his heart had been pierced. “… Unfortunately, I was unable to save them. I’d say this Daemon General is even more powerful than the rock demon and blood demon. Please be careful if you run into him in the future, everyone.”
After listening to Li Qingshan’s story, everyone realised he had not just run into some trouble. Instead, he had almost lost his life out there.
It was rare of him to remain so calm and unfazed, seated on the side, listening along earlier and only explaining this calmly when the matter had been brought up, as if the one in danger was someone else, not him. His composure and bearing truly were startling.
Han Anjun nodded in satisfaction inside, but he also could not help but sigh, Qiongzhi, oh Qiongzhi. You really have an eye for men. This one is anything but mediocre. He is already showing signs of greatness. Even I can’t tell what step he will take now. This Li Qingshan is not someone you can control.
Cheng Kaishan snorted and questioned, “If the daemon you described really was that powerful, how did you manage to escape as a cultivator at early Foundation Establishment? What even more powerful than the blood demon and rock demon? You were probably just careless, wanting to shy away from your responsibilities!”
This was what made Dragonsnail terrifying. Actually, quite a few Foundation Establishment cultivators had already died at his hands. He had managed to conduct the war between the entire Daemon race and the humans for so long, yet still remain completely unheard of.
“You’re welcome to remain unconvinced.” Li Qingshan leaned against the back of the chair and did not argue.
Fu Qingjin said, “Qingshan might be right. According to the news I’ve received, there is indeed a Daemon General like that underground, known as Dragonsnail. He’s the most trusted by the Spider Queen, but there has never been any news of him directly interfering in the past three years. Even his abilities remain a mystery. Today is the first time I’ve heard anything about it.”
“Either he has never struck before, or his attacks have never ended in failure. With Qingshan’s description, I think the latter is more likely. Even I find this ability to be rather troublesome.”
Hua Chengzan agreed and said, “Recently, a few Foundation Establishment fellows have died extremely strangely. None of them are weak, and they have plenty of life-saving measures. If they ran into regular Daemon Generals, they could always escape even if they were not their opponent. Yet, when they died, Bloodshadow was clearly moving around somewhere else. Looking at it now, they probably all died to Dragonsnail.”
Fu Qingjin and Hua Chengzan were reputed for their sharp wit and deep thinking. No one had any more doubts now that the two of them had spoken up. Their faces only grew stern as they carefully wondered what would happen if they ran into Dragonsnail instead.
When they looked at Li Qingshan again, they no longer looked at him in the same light. There were plenty of mid or even late Foundation Establishment cultivators who had been targeted and killed by Dragonsnail, yet only he managed to escape. It probably was not luck alone. Little did they know that if Li Qingshan really were just a regular early Foundation Establishment cultivator, he would be as dead as a corpse right now.
In the end, everyone decided to wait for now and see how Xiao An progressed with her cultivation. If she really lived up to their expectations, it would obviously be for the best.
Han Anjun asked for Li Qingshan to return the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility. He said he would find someone to repair it. As it seemed, he still planned on sending Li Qingshan on that mission if nothing worked out.
Li Qingshan did not mind. The underground that seemed like the gates of hell to other cultivators was absolutely nothing to him. He was not particularly worried whether the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility could be repaired either.
If regular cultivators had a supreme grade spiritual artifact like that damaged, they would be utterly heartbroken, but Li Qingshan had seen his fair share of supreme grade spiritual artifacts already. He even had a few arcane artifacts, so he did not care at all.
Actually, he had become slightly unhappy with the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility a long time ago. The invisibility had only been effective in the beginning. He could even be directly seen through by Daemon Generals with sharper senses.
Moreover, the power of the artifact was a little low. If it were not for the strand of sword qi in his dantian, all he would be capable of would be angering the opponent even if he had surprise on his side. He would not even be able to cause a heavy injury.
Right now, he was more like an assassin—sneaking over, sword qi in the dantian, Cursive Sword Calligraphy. If he used up these three tricks and the opponent was still alive, probably all he could do was flee.
If only he had an arcane artifact sword!
However, arcane artifacts had always been items that arose from luck, not searching. Finding one that was compatible with his element would be even more difficult. Swords were weapons for attacking and killing. Metal element swords appeared the most, while water element ones appeared the least.
He possessed the sect treasure of Bronze Cauldron mountain, the Bronze Cauldron of the Four Cardinal Directions. He could attempt to refine artifacts for himself, but unfortunately, the world was a mess right now. He had absolutely no time to settle down and learn how to forge artifacts.
As a matter of fact, he did not even have the leisure to cultivate. All he could do was make this war end as soon as possible.
When Li Qingshan returned to the Chain mountains, dawn had not even arrived. The mountains rose and fell in the misty clouds, seeping in the moonlight. It was enough to inspire a feeling of transcendence within people, enough for them to forget about all the fighting and killing.
Li Qingshan could not help but slow down. He glanced at Ru Xin’s dwelling from afar before passing through the protective formations, landing at the entrance. Dense spiritual qi immediately surrounded him. After a period of accumulation, the Eight Gates Formation of Golden Locks gradually demonstrated its powers.
Li Qingshan entered the dwelling and spotted Xiao An seated with her legs crossed. Her seaweed-like hair flowed down her back. She was surrounded in flames, currently cultivating.
Li Qingshan did not interrupt her. He took out a jar of spiritual alcohol and casually leaned against the wall, taking a sip. He slowly settled down with that.
On the surface, Xiao An was at the budding age of thirteen or fourteen. Just like the poem “Aged thirteen and o’er, pretty, slender and charming, a bud on treetop, she’s to bloom in early spring”, her appearance that was deemed to be the Aspect of Heavenly Fragrance and Beauty by the Sect of Clouds and Rain had begun to demonstrate its beauty.
She was bare, already possessing the femininity of a young lady. Li Qingshan witnessed her entire enchanting figure.
She obviously did not feel inconvenienced, while Li Qingshan had grown accustomed to it too. There was not the slightest temptation. Instead, he was rather delighted.
He felt like he was watching a shrub, an orchid, thriving and growing under his close care.
Of course, what he fed it was endless amounts of flesh and blood.
Her jade-like skin was almost transparent under the firelight, such that the white bone inside could be made out from time to time.
For one instant, she was a woman of heavenly beauty. In the next instant, she was a terrifying, deathly skeleton.
Even Li Qingshan was able to capture a hint of the buddhist nature and truths it was conveying. He took another sip and smiled. Xiao An’s cultivation had progressed even further.
Through this period of cultivation, Xiao An had finally consolidated her cultivation of the first layer of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty. The first thing she did next was not forge more prayer beads or continue with cultivating white bone, but to refine her body again.
White bone was the foundation of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, but she could not go without great beauty either.
White bone represented death, where all was emptiness. Great beauty represented life, where everything tangible was present.
The former was like the middle of winter, the ice three inches thick and completely desolate, while the latter was like early spring, when everything bloomed and prospered.
Only by combining the two, merging life and death such that she could alternate between them freely, could she truly reach the first layer of the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty.
After who knew how long, the flames gradually died down, merging into her body. Her skin seemed flawless, pale like snow and shining with the lustre of jade. It also contained roaring vitality and spiritual energy.
Originally, her power only came from the white bone, and her body was just an illusion. Although it was completely perfect, endowed with extraordinary talent, it was no more powerful than a regular person’s body.
But now, it had merged with the essence from all the flesh and blood, such that her feminine body possessed enough power to rival regular Daemon Generals.
“Qingshan.” Xiao An threw herself into Li Qingshan’s arms like a swallow returning to its nest.
A strange fragrance like sandalwood filled his arms. As he touched the jade-like skin, it felt indescribably fine and soft, such that even precious jade completely paled in comparison. He truly understood what “as fine as jade” meant now.
Li Qingshan rubbed his nose. He suddenly felt rather embarrassed, finally remembering the fact that they were of different genders. He took out a dress and lectured her as he dressed her, “Look, Xiao An, you’re not a child anymore. As a girl, you can’t just let other people see your body. Raise your hand!”
“It’s not like you’re other people,” Xiao An raised her hand and slipped it into the sleeves as she said in confusion.
“I’m no different.” Li Qingshan said sternly.
Xiao An raised her head and looked at Li Qingshan. Her brilliant pupils suddenly flashed, and she smiled, which seemed like flowers blooming. Even Li Qingshan was taken slightly aback.
“What are you smiling for?”
Xiao An smiled gently. She shook her head and said nothing.
“Turn around.” Li Qingshan shook his head helplessly. He had no idea whether it was because most of her immaturity had vanished as her body grew that she seemed to mature overnight, now possessing certain thoughts that even he was unable to guess.
Xiao An turned around obediently and allowed Li Qingshan to tie up her waistband.
“Alright, you’re like a princess now.” Li Qingshan studied in satisfaction.
Xiao An’s heart skipped a beat. She found that form of reference to be rather familiar. Some of her lost memories rose up, but she immediately dismissed them to one side.
It had already been several years since Li Qingshan last mentioned he would take her home. She seemed to have forgotten about it completely too.
The matters of yesterday were not worth mentioning. Only tomorrow was worth looking forward to. Only today was worth treasuring.
Li Qingshan took out the True Spirit pills he had obtained from the Parlour and Clouds and Rain and mentioned Ma Buyi’s plan.
Hearing that, Xiao An began cultivating in Li Qingshan’s arms.
Before long, all of the true qi in her body had been converted into spiritual qi. She continued to meditate for a little longer until the seven types of spiritual qi filled her dantian. Only then did she stop and say, “I’m done.”
She had even managed to succeed with the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty, so practising the Cloud Bookcase of the Seven Lots now obviously took no extra effort. It did not pose any difficulty at all.
“Don’t let other Qi Practitioners see you, or you’ll drive them crazy.” Li Qingshan sighed with a smile.
Several days later, in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain.
The upper echelon of the Daemon Suppression alliance and the Academy of the Hundred Schools gathered together once more.
Li Qingshan’s news from the Chain mountains made everyone eager and excited. They discussed among themselves.
“Has she really established a foundation? She’s not even twenty this year!”
“That’s not it. A few years ago, she was still a regular person. Compared to her, we’re all mediocre.”
“Once they’re here, we’ll obviously find out. I’d like to see just how impressive she’s supposed to be!”
A cloud descended from the sky. Li Qingshan and Xiao An arrived together.