Chapter 508 – Neck and Neck
“The marquis shouldn’t object. If we have a Golden Core cultivator, there’s still a lot of hope in this game of chess. The moon demon might think he has prevailed, but senior Zhou will let him know sooner or later that this is his greatest mistake.” That was what Hua Chengzan said, but he did not feel so optimistic inside.
“Hmph, I definitely won’t just leave the matter be. How dare he use my Lightning Slaughter sword to roast chicken!” Zhou Tong’s face twitched again.
After the meeting in the academy had ended, Liu Chuanfeng extended a grand invitation for Li Qingshan to return to the school of Novels and take a look. Li Qingshan turned him down.
Liu Chuanfeng feigned anger. “Qingshan, the school of Novels is the school you originally came from. That’s far too inappropriate of you to just walk by without going inside.”
Unable to turn him down, Li Qingshan arrived on Cloudwisp island.
Passing through the gloomy bamboo forest, the bamboo loft shimmered with lamplight.
Li Qingshan sensed the existence of many auras. This place would never be as quiet and empty as before again.
Under Liu Chuanfeng’s order, a great group of children huddled over. The eldest was only fifteen or sixteen, while the youngest only seemed to be seven or eight. They all called out together with their childish voices, “Greetings, first senior brother!”
Afterwards, they stared at Li Qingshan with sparkling eyes. Liu Chuanfeng had mentioned the glorious deeds of Li Qingshan frequently to encourage them and also to bring up the results of his arduous guidance as it was convenient.
Li Qingshan sighed inside. After three years of war, probably only the school of Novels had become even more prosperous than before.
The main reason was the school of Novels never had any decent disciples in the first place. New disciples like them were second or third layer Qi Practitioners at most. Even getting the school of Mohism to create a few random puppets was better than sending them to their deaths.
Some people were destroyed because they were too powerful, while some people managed to remain alive safely because they were too weak.
He sat down for a talk and before he knew it, a few hours had passed.
Li Qingshan stood up and bid farewell, wanting to return to the Chain mountains with Xiao An, only for Hua Chengzan to stop him. He had just finished his discussion with Liu Zhangqing and was right about to invite Li Qingshan back to the Hawkwolf Guard to preside over the situation.
Never had he heard of a Scarlet Hawk commander who stopped showing up after the day of his promotion. Now that the war had come to a conclusion, there were a thousand things waiting to be done for the Hawkwolf Guard. They needed him to watch over everything.
“Little Hua, I’ll leave everything up to you. I want to spend some time in secluded cultivation.”
Li Qingshan patted Hua Chengzan’s shoulder. However, before he was even done, Hua Chengzan said in surprise, “Seclusion again? Didn’t you just emerge from seclusion?”
Never had he heard of a cultivator who entered secluded cultivation so often either.
Secluded cultivation was not simply locking yourself up in your dwelling. Cultivators only chose secluded cultivation once their cultivation had reached a certain bottleneck, or they had reached a certain degree of accumulation.
“Heh, I comprehended some things recently.”
Li Qingshan was not lying. He had yet to carefully comprehend his experience and lessons from the battle with the Spider Queen. At the same time, he had not consolidated his comprehensions from refining Moon Court lake yet. Both of these took time.
“Alright then!” What else could Hua Chengzan say? The most important thing to cultivators was still cultivation. Everything else, such as the Hawkwolf Guard or the overall situation of the world, was of much lesser importance. “Though, the path of cultivation is about advancing step by step. If you’re far too eager for instant success, it’ll merely slow you down. It’ll be easy for you to suffer from qi deviation.”
“I know. You should be careful when you deal with the moon demon too. Hopefully you don’t go out to beat a tiger, only to get injured yourself.” Li Qingshan obviously understood the principle of taking one step at a time. He had not actually spent much time or energy on the Arts of the Boundless Ocean.
He also needed to practise the extremely profound ability, the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, at the same time, as well as maintain his status in the world of daemons. Time had never been enough for him. He had always wanted to learn artifact forging too, but he never had the leisure.
Hopefully the situation could mellow out for a period and give him some more time to cultivate once this war ended!
“The tiger is too vicious. It’s not something I can beat up. I just want to keep the tiger satisfied so that it hurts fewer people.”
Li Qingshan smiled. “That won’t be easy. We’ve gained an impressive rival in love after all.”
“A rival in love.”
Suddenly, Hua Chengzan discovered he had miscalculated one aspect. The moon demon had publicly professed his love from Gu Yanying, so how would the Marquis of Ruyi respond? The exchange this time would probably lead to unexpected problems.
However, the development of the situation seemed to confirm Hua Chengzan’s thoughts. The Marquis of Ruyi had never turned down Liu Zhangqing’s petition, but he would be reluctant to agree to it.
Liu Zhangqing refused to hand over the Watermirror disc so easily, and the matter had been shelved like that.
Li Qingshan obviously would not panic. The one panicking should be Zhou Tong. It had been a moment of inspiration for him in the first place. If this insignificant move of his succeeded, then that would be for the best, but if it failed, it was not a pity either.
Actually, he had already forgotten about this.
In Qing Xiao’s Home, Li Qingshan shut his eyes as blue light ebbed like the tide from his body, producing the vague sound of waves.
He devoted all his focus to that apart from saving a part of it, so his clone could continue refining bodies of water and expanding the god seal.
His attention was completely submerged in his sea of consciousness. The boundless sea of consciousness was like a huge mirror, clearly reflecting two figures.
One was Li Qingshan. The other was Spider Queen Lolth.
From their first meeting to every single meeting afterwards, he did not omit a single conversation that they had. It then went to the intercourse in Cobweb city, the bitter battle under Cobweb city, and his indulgence and venting after victory. It covered everything.
Li Qingshan seemed like he was reminiscing a lover, recollecting every single expression and movement she had made.
From a certain perspective, enemies were indeed closer than lovers. Hating a person would lead to constant thought about them every single day, while it was very difficult to achieve this with only loving a person.
Of course, Li Qingshan did not hate Lolth. His memories mostly triggered excitement and fervour.
Her wounds, her daemon qi, should be completely recovered already! So why hasn’t she come for revenge yet? Is she preparing some sort of secret weapon?
The tiger demon growled in his heart, desiring another battle with her! He could imagine the battle to be extremely difficult, but that was what made it interesting.
He was no longer the same Li Qingshan of the past either. Gaining control over Moon Court lake held extraordinary significance to him. Apart from the direct benefits, it also affected his mentality.
He submerged his mind in the illusionary figure of the spirit turtle that radiated with an extremely tranquil aura to comprehend and feel it.
To another side of the dwelling, Xiao An cupped her hands, holding the blood daemon core she had obtained from killing Bloodshadow in between them.
The blood daemon core changed its shape like water as it produced a strange hiss, like the wails of ghosts from hell.
Xiao An freed up her left hand and waved it upwards.
Twenty-one Skull Prayer Beads scattered, turning into skulls as they circled above her head.
She raised the blood daemon core in her right hand with some difficulty. Its shape had already changed completely, becoming a thin disc. It rippled like flowing water.
Suddenly, she pushed upwards, and the blood daemon core flew up. The skulls opened their mouths together, spraying Samādhi Flames of White Bone at the blood daemon core.
She had formally begun to refine the Blood Sea Banner.
At the same time, in Moon Court lake.
Li Qingshan refined the surrounding waters without even resting for a second. Under the control of the same will, his main body and his clone advanced at the same time to become stronger.
Before he knew it, four months had passed.
Li Qingshan used half a month to refine a great river that stretched over five hundred kilometers before coming to a temporary stop. He gazed at the Water God Seal in his hand. It was as translucent as before, glowing with blue light, except the patterns had become even clearer and more complicated. It was no longer completely flat. Instead, it became slightly three-dimensional.
And, he could clearly sense the waters radiate outward in all directions from Moon Court lake. Moon Court lake was like a beating heart, and the rivers were the vessels that delivered blood.
However, seeing how Spider Queen Lolth had not come to challenge him, he caught the scent of danger. Perhaps the concept of time to daemons was different from humans.
Li Qingshan dared not be careless, but he would not worry too much about it either. He believed he definitely became stronger faster than Lolth.
If she really were willing to drag it out, then that would work too. If she waited a few decades or a century, then it would no longer be a battle of life and death. She could simply bend over and wait for him to visit.
After resting for a moment, Li Qingshan continued to search for bodies of water connected to Moon Court lake that he had yet to refine. What he wanted to find the most was the water system connected to the underground river, but he never managed to find it.
He could not help it. There were far too many rivers connected to Moon Court lake, and every single one of them meandered about, making it very difficult to determine their direction from one end. Some seemed to lead underground, but after flowing underground for a while, they would surface again.
Some clearly flowed in the direction of the territory, but upon flowing into some mountains, they would take a few turns and veer off elsewhere.
“Just where is it?”
Li Qingsha muttered to himself in the Chain mountains. He opened his eyes and checked on Xiao An. She was still focused on refining the Blood Sea Banner.
Within the Samādhi Flames of White Bone that burned quietly, a long, blood-red banner had already taken form. Li Qingshan could already sense the great power it was hiding, surging boundlessly like the ocean.
I thought it would be very easy to find. If I had known earlier, I would have gotten her to divine for me. Oh right, why don’t I try the spirit turtle’s ability of divination?
Suddenly, Li Qingshan came up with an idea. Throughout the four months, he had gained an even deeper comprehension of the Spirit Turtle Transformation. The Spirit Turtle’s Profound Shell and the Watermirror’s Image were not the only aspects that had become more profound.
He had gained a deeper comprehension of the abilities that spirit turtles possessed in the first place too.
Li Qingshan closed his eyes again. The spirit turtle’s daemon core in his body flickered with light. At the same time, his clone five hundred kilometers away held the Water God Seal and sensed the ripples in Moon Court lake.
Vaguely, he placed his mind in the centre of Moon Court lake. A towering, mountainous island stood there.
Suddenly, he saw it. There was a vortex beneath the island.
Beneath the island was a cavern, which swallowed the lakewater endlessly.
He had always been looking at the edge of the lake, but he had never paid particular attention to the scenery of the lake, as a vortex like that was far too common in Moon Court lake. It was not worth any special attention.
And, by looking at the size of the hole, it was impossible for it to create a river as grand as the one underground. In the past, even if Li Qingshan discovered the hole, he would not have taken note of it.
Li Qingshan believed the senses of the spirit turtle. He immediately arrived above the vortex and channeled his daemon qi into the hole. As the Water God Seal advanced, it rapidly extended underground.