Chapter 473 – A Clear Conscience Brings Peace of Mind, the Mind is Perturbed by Ru Xin’s Charm
Divination was not omnipotent. It was not like what everyone imagined it to be either. It was not omniscient.
The information gathered by the Hawkwolf Guard played a vital role in allowing Xiao An to predict Bloodshadow’s movements and his death. Bloodshadow killed too much, leaving behind too many ties of karma.
He was like a tiny fish swimming through the river, leaving behind clear ripples in the water.
She did not analyse the information using logic. Instead, she grasped the threads of fate that regular cultivators were unable to see, which was why she managed to predict Bloodshadow’s movements so accurately.
If she were to predict Dragonsnail’s movements instead, then she would be left at quite a loss as for where to start. Even if she just tried blindly, it would never be so accurate.
From a certain perspective, it was exactly because Bloodshadow was fated to die in her hands that led to this deep tie of karma, which allowed her to do this. In other words, if she were unable to predict so much, she would not have been able to kill Bloodshadow.
The components of karma, cause and effect, were intertwined. As a matter of fact, they were two sides of the same coin, which formed a mysterious, almost unpredictable predestination. It was much more profound than any techniques the world had to offer.
Xiao An had only scratched the surface so far. She was nowhere close to understanding it thoroughly. However, the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase would bring great assistance to her divination. At the very least, it could allow her to dive a little deeper into the river of fate.
“I must thank you all for your great generosity in Xiao An’s place!” Li Qingshan raised his cup up high and downed it all.
Apart from the Bamboo-Jade Lot of the Cloud Bookcase that went to Xiao An, Li Qingshan received some rewards too. Without saying, his contribution in the Hawkwolf Guard had increased drastically yet again.
A resplendent smile stretched over his face as he downed alcohol jar after jar, like he was drinking water. It led to a series of cheering and applause.
Xiao An looked at Li Qingshan, and the corner of her lips curled up silently. Although she appeared to be quite inhuman sometimes, no one could rival her in terms of intelligence. She just never cared about what others thought and felt. But for him, she had an extremely detailed understanding. She understood what bothered him mentally.
Ru Xin gazed over from afar and also found him rather different today. It was as if he had returned to a few years ago when she had met him for the first time.
Today, Li Qingshan felt extremely satisfied inside, and it was not only because of all the benefits he had received.
In the past, he had witnessed the atrocities of war. He personally believed he was responsible for part of this. This responsibility might not have been particularly big. Just like what Fu Qingjin had said, war was unavoidable. They were just pieces on the chess board.
However, he would never use this as an excuse to shirk away from his responsibilities. As a man, even if he made a mistake, he would accept and bear the burden. If he constantly tried to cover it up, even distancing himself from his own cover-ups, then it would only twist his conscience. He would just be a hypocrite.
The right or wrong in this had nothing to do with what other people thought. Everyone had a set of scales in their hearts. Perfection, unparalleled kindness, and justice had never been what he pursued. All he wanted was to maintain a clear conscience.
In the past, after he had gained power, he did not seek revenge against his elder brother and sister-in-law who had abused him for all those years. He did not use it to vent his pent-up fury. Instead, he tossed behind a bag of silver, exactly because of these two words.
After killing the rock demon and the blood demon, he personally believed he had settled a few ties of karma, having upheld his responsibility. It was like a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders. He was filled with indescribable relief and delight.
Of course, no one had the right to judge him on this outcome, to say “Li Qingshan, you’ve completely been overthinking” or “Your sins are much deeper than that. Killing two daemons is nowhere near enough to redeem yourself”.
If he felt it was enough, then it was enough. Although he had once sworn he would finish off both sides of the war and end the war for good, but through this period of understanding, he felt this was no longer his responsibility. It even exceeded his abilities to a certain degree, so he just cast this directly to the back of his mind.
While he did not completely agree with Fu Qingjin’s chessboard metaphor, he did find it somewhat reasonable. Right now, the war was restricted to the Clear River prefecture, where he could still play a role. Once it spread even further, what could he do with his current cultivation?
Forget it! If he wanted to fight, then he could fight to his heart’s content! And, once he became tired of the issues from balancing both sides, he would be better off making use of this opportunity to swoop in and benefit from the demise of others so that he could increase his cultivation quickly. Only then could he protect those important to him. Only then could he reach beyond the Nine Heavens sooner.
As a transmigrator, he did not really conform to the concept of “upholding his word no matter what”. The circumstances constantly changed. He would never allow a single word to tie him down, even if it originated from his own mouth.
He had clearly taken a step forward, possessing much greater knowledge now, yet he had to stick with the conclusions he had drawn from his past understandings. That was no different from purposefully making things difficult for himself.
“They’re retreating! They’re retreating!”
A young cultivator rushed into the Parlour of Clouds and Rain excitedly and called out loudly.
“What’s going on? Take your time!” Liu Zhangqing said sternly.
“Sir prefect, we have received news from various directions that all the daemons have retreated back underground. It’s all because of sir’s great leadership that allowed us to kill the blood demon and weaken the daemons’ momentum.” As the young cultivator spoke, he did not forget to suck up to Liu Zhangqing.
The news of the blood demon falling in battle reached Dragonsnail’s ears very quickly. He immediately made a decision to withdraw all their forces.
Among the four great Daemon Generals under the Spider Queen’s command, Northmoon was locked up in secluded cultivation, so only he remained. There was not a lot he could do alone. Continuing to persist had already become pointless. It would only lead to even greater losses.
Daemons had lengthy lifespans, but they cultivated slowly too. Every daemon they lost would take a century to make up for.
However, the wartime chaos from the past few years had drastically reduced the population of the Clear River prefecture too. It was equivalent to destroying most of the foundation of the cultivation society of the prefecture. It would take them a century to recover too.
Cheers erupted in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain. They all tossed aside their cultivated composure.
Over the past few years of battle, who knew how many seniors and juniors they had lost. Who knew how many times they had faced life-threatening danger. They were finally witnessing the light of victory. Who could still control their emotions at a time like this?
“Don’t celebrate too soon, everyone. We still need to continue with our efforts. Only then can we completely smash the Daemon race’s ambitions.” Liu Zhangqing cleared his throat twice before finally suppressing the excitement inside.
Cheng Kaishan said, “Fellow Fu, both the rock demon and blood demon have already fallen in battle. Now, as long as you can kill the moon demon too, we’ll win this war.”
“I’ll do my best,” Fu Qingjin said nonchalantly.
Kill me? Then why don’t you try it!
Tipsy, Li Qingshan smiled and thought to himself.
The celebratory banquet became an even grander celebratory banquet. It lasted deep into the night before disbanding.
Li Qingshan and Xiao An returned to their dwelling in the Chain mountains. Ru Xin also accompanied them.
Now that the fighting had come to an end, there was no need for her to constantly refine pills to save people. She could take a break now. She wanted to go back and rest up. She was still thinking about the “great gift” Li Qingshan had promised her, so along the way, she gave into her curiosity.
“Where’s my great gift?”
“We’ll talk about it once we get back.” Li Qingshan smiled mysteriously.
Returning to the chain mountains, Li Qingshan sent Xiao An back to the dwelling first before returning to Ru Xin’s dwelling with her.
Li Qingshan cut right to the chase, directly pulling out all the spiritual herbs in his hundred treasures pouch and piling them up on the stone table.
Most of them were spiritual herbs that the six clans of night roamers had offered up during his three years of secluded cultivation. There were also a few that came from killing and robbing cultivators of the Daemon Suppression alliance, which also amounted to quite the sum. He had held onto them for all this time, leaving them in his hundred treasures pouch, as Ru Xin had neither the time or effort to deal with them.
“Is this the great gift you were speaking of?” Ru Xin said in surprise. The amount of spiritual herbs Li Qingshan had taken out last time had already surprised her, but comparing it to this time, she realised she had still underestimated it.
Never had she seen so many spiritual herbs in her life. Just the amount alone had completely surpassed what Li Qingshan had taken out in the past, and they were nowhere close in terms of value too.
One a thousand-year spiritual herb could match a whole pile of regular, cultivated spiritual herbs. Yet, there were a hundred stalks of thousand-year spiritual herbs at the very least before her, piled up like vegetables. How could she not be shocked?
“Same as before. You’ll gather the other spiritual herbs, and once you refine them, you can have thirty percent.”
“That won’t do. I’ve refined too many pills lately. Now, I feel sick just from seeing spiritual herbs. Just thinking about alchemy gives me a headache,” Ru Xin rubbed her forehead and said in fake distress.
That was to hide the quivering emotions in her eyes. If she converted all of them into spiritual stones, there would probably be enough to fill her entire dwelling. Most importantly, the origins of these spiritual herbs were enough to expose many things, which only confirmed her suspicions.
She had never considered receiving trust on a level like this.
“Hmph, you’re getting such a good deal already, yet you’re still not satisfied. If you don’t want to do it, then I’ll go find someone else.” That was what Li Qingshan said, but he had no intentions of leaving.
“Why don’t you get that old father-in-law Han of yours to help you out? With the Han family’s influence, finding a few suitable alchemists won’t be difficult at all. You’ll save the thirty percent you’ll have to share with me too.”
“You’re the one I trust, alright? Are you happy now? Stop it. Are you going to refine it or not?”
This kind of trust could not be built up overnight, but at a time like this, Li Qingshan felt like he could trust her with many things, which even included a few important secrets.
Ru Xin found that soothing. For some reason, she chucked to herself. In other words, even Han Qiongzhi doesn’t know these secrets about him! Wait, why am I comparing myself to her?
“So be it. Since you’re already pleading with me like this, I’ll refine it. Though, you probably haven’t even counted your spiritual herbs, right? Even if a stalk or ten go missing, you wouldn’t know!” Ru Xin accepted all the spiritual herbs and blinked her eyes with a smile.
“Who said? If even a stalk goes missing, I’ll be questioning you.” Slightly taken aback, Li Qingshan refused to back down.
In reality, she was completely right. He had indeed not counted it. If Ru Xin wanted to steal his spiritual herbs, there was no need to go to such great lengths at all. She could just directly claim a few cauldrons of pills were destroyed during the refining process, or she could under-report the sum of pills. There were plenty of methods for her to embezzle him.
“Just by you?” Ru Xin said in disdain.
“Do you want to try it?” Li Qingshan shot a glance at her.
“Come at me then!” Ru Xin shot a glance back at him with contempt, but she suddenly felt rather uneasy. Li Qingshan’s expression changed slightly before she knew it.
They were a man and a woman in a room alone, staring at one another.
Suddenly, Li Qingshan felt rather tempted. Perhaps it was the alcohol at work, or perhaps it was because the burden had suddenly been lifted from his mind. Through his tipsiness, Ru Xin’s gentle face and wonderful, graceful figure possessed an indescribable charm. She was enchanting.
He was tempted to get a little closer to her, to sniff the medicinal fragrance on her and see exactly what she was thinking under her cynical mask.