Chapter 562 – The Heavens Are So Far Away
“Qingshan, you’ve changed a lot.”
In the dark room, Han Qiongzhi touched Li Qingshan’s face with her hand.
Before she knew it, the flagrant youth of the past had already become a man. His jawline seemed to become more defined, while his gaze was as resolute as steel. As her father had said, she was unable to make clear of what it was hiding. The reason for exactly why he was so resolute seemed to be a mystery.
Her instincts told her that during the few years they spent apart, he had been through many things, far more than she could ever know or imagine, enough for him to develop a sense of unfamiliarity.
He was like a statue. He seemed no different on the surface, but as long as she touched him gently, she could tell. The material he was made from was completely different, such that every single detail had become different.
Li Qingshan grabbed her hand and said gently, “You’re no different. You’ve become much thinner.” And much more mature.
Han Qiongzhi let out an interjection of agreement and leaned against him in his arms gently. Li Qingshan embraced her firmly as he thought inside, Qiongzhi, I’ve already become very strong. I can protect you.
Perhaps he was fated to let go of many things on his path to the Nine Heavens, but he refused to let go of this person in his arms. He recalled a line from a movie in his past life, “Who said you can’t roam the jianghu with your wife by your side?”
TL: Referring to the movie “Ashes of Time”, released in 1994.
The room was tranquil. They simply listened to the sound of falling snow outside.
The two of them spent that night fully clothed, listening to the sounds silently.
Li Qingshan did not even have a hint of lust. Instead, he felt extremely peaceful.
In that moment, the battle-hungry, bloodthirsty Northmoon seemed to depart from him. His long-departed heart as a human returned to his chest, giving off warmth.
Only when the sun was about to rise did Han Qiongzhi hesitate and ask gently, “Qingshan, are you hiding something from me?”
Li Qingshan held her by the shoulders, separating them from one another. He stared into her eyes and nodded gently. “I am.”
Han Qiongzhi found the gaze slightly stifling as she also felt vague hints of fear.
Li Qingshan sucked in a deep breath. He had decided to hide it no longer.
At that very moment, he was unable to tell anything that could deceive her. Even if she were unable to accept it, even if she would run out and disclose this secret to the world, he would accept the consequences calmly.
The moment he was about to speak, a hand pressed against Li Qingshan’s lips. He was slightly taken aback, only to hear Han Qiongzhi say, “I’m a little afraid.”
She felt like if she learnt about this secret, it would destroy the feeling of peace and tranquility between them and distance them.
Li Qingshan had no idea what to do.
Han Qiongzhi said, “I don’t want to hear it anymore. You’ve refused to tell me this the entire time, so you must have your reason! Tell me when you think it’s appropriate, alright?”
Li Qingshan hesitated for a moment. “Alright.”
Her mind had yet to recover from the sorrow of losing her uncle. If he burdened her with something like that right now, it would probably exceed what she could cope with, which would instead be detrimental to her acceptance.
For the next few days, Li Qingshan and Han Qiongzhi frequently trudged through the snow as they roamed through the nearby mountains and forests. Most of the time, Li Qingshan was the one talking, telling her about what had happened after they separated. He no longer wanted to hide anything, so he covered it up without any lies, leaving many “blanks” in his stories.
Most of the time, Han Qiongzhi listened along quietly. She would ask a few questions every now and then, but she would never question him closely as if she was afraid of bursting this beautiful bubble. It only made Li Qingshan want to protect her even more.
During the other times, Li Qingshan would often spar with the descendants of the Han family in the open space outside the cemetery.
Watching over the grave was not about being cooped up in the building and lamenting all day long. The school of the Military had never placed a particularly great emphasis on these forms of mere courtesy. As a result, they gradually forgave Li Qingshan for his “rudeness”. They would seek guidance from him modestly or gather around him and listen to his experiences with actual combat in the chaos of war.
The battle prowess that Li Qingshan demonstrated was truly powerful. When he fought, he did not use any one-sided power. Their speed, strength, and spiritual qi was roughly the same, yet he could easily emerge as the victor. This left the descendants of the Han family extremely unconvinced with their defeat, yet they were also forced to admire him. The school of the Military respected and admired the strong.
In reality, through the constant sparring, the strength that Li Qingshan used decreased as he went. He obviously did not do this just to gain the recognition of the descendants of the Han family.
Recently, his strength had grown far too quickly. He required some time for consolidation to integrate what he had learnt from the numerous life-threatening battles.
In the beginning, he was still using the same strength as his opponent to fight, but as he constantly suppressed it, he only used the strength of an early Foundation Establishment cultivator towards the end. He completely cast aside his powerful body as a daemon to train his skills in battle.
And while his father-in-law Han Anjun was nowhere close to him in terms of strength, he did come from an aristocratic family with a very deep heritage, so his many skills and ideas in battle still allowed Li Qingshan to benefit tremendously.
They had reached the hundredth day of watching the grave. After this day, they could take off their mourning clothes and return to their usual lives.
With a thump, Han Tieyi was launched far away. He slid over thirty meters along the ground before coming to a stop, kicking snow into the air. He raised his head, only to see Li Qingshan extending his hand over with a smile. He grabbed the hand and stood up. He could not help but admit that Li Qingshan had already left him behind on the path of cultivation.
He did not have the support of a clan. He did not have the guidance of a master. He did not even have a proper legacy. Even his primary cultivation method, the Arts of the Boundless Ocean, was incomplete, and he had joined the school of Novels. There really were so-called talented geniuses in the end. As it seemed, it was not without reason that he could stand beside the monstrous Xiao An and be so close with her.
“Qingshan, you’ve gone too soft on him!” Han Qiongzhi called out from afar, leading to noise and laughter from the descendants of the Han family, “Big sister Han, you sure are vicious!” “A younger brother just can’t compare with your man.”
After all, no one could dwell in sorrow forever. This was not the spirit that the school of the Military advocated. Otherwise, if they lost a fellow comrade in true war and became ridden with sorrow, unable to fight anymore, were they still disciples of the school of Military anymore?
Han Tieyi was unfazed. He asked, “You should be close to breaking through to late Foundation Establishment already!”
Similar to the fifth layer of the spirit turtle, he lacked an opportunity and a degree of comprehension. However, with this period of cultivation, Li Qingshan could vaguely sense that the Arts of the Boundless Ocean was close to breaking through, but the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression still refused to budge.
After all, the difficulty of the two were on completely different levels. They were worlds apart with how they affected Li Qingshan.
“How fast!” Even Han Tieyi could not help but sigh. Since Li Qingshan had said that he was close, then he truly was close.
Minor realms of cultivation were not as difficult to break through as major realms of cultivation, but they still required a relative amount of time and energy. Every single step forward was extremely difficult.
As long as Qi Practitioners had the guidance of their masters, the support of sufficient resources and enough talent, basically all of them could reach Foundation Establishment. This was the simplest, first step in the cultivation world.
Of course, it was not actually that simple. The resources alone daunted many cultivators. The True Spirit pill that played a critical role in the breakthrough to Foundation Establishment was not something every Qi Practitioner could possess. If they wanted to break through by only relying on themselves, it would be far too difficult.
Only after reaching Foundation Establishment could they be regarded as mastering the basics, allowing them to formally start cultivating. It was also the true beginning of the cultivation world. Even if they had sufficient resources, it would still be riddled with difficulty. Otherwise the large, resource-rich sects like the Sword Collection palace and Umbral Yin sect would not have so few Golden Core elders.
And, the second heavenly tribulation would not be as “gentle” as the first one. If they completely relied on other people or external objects and not themselves, there was a good chance they would die to the tribulation.
Han Tieyi was only at early Foundation Establishment right now, close to breaking through to mid Foundation Establishment. His talent could already be considered as impressive. He had advanced vigorously under the support of his clan, and he had basically forsaken all leisure, so how could he not sigh over Li Qingshan’s cultivation speed?
In the Academy of the Hundred Schools, there was also someone else who struggled as she crawled through these gates of the cultivation world.
In the seclusion dwelling below Contention island, the sound of thunder subsided.
A charred figure twisted about and struggled to her feet. She let out a fit of violent coughing at first, followed by gentle laughter from the depths of her throat. It gradually grew louder until it became hysterical, maddening laughter. She behaved like a cobra raising its head.
An aged and robust vine climbed out of Qian Rongzhi’s body. It coiled around her, and the charred layer on her body peeled off. It was impossible to tell whether it was her clothes or her burnt skin. She was like a black snake shedding its skin. Snow-white skin grew as a colourful little snake slithered happily on it.
Afterwards came a new round of torture, even at a time like this. No matter when it was, the pain would never be absent. It would only grow more intense, unprecedentedly intense.
She collapsed on the ground again. Her limbs writhed, like grubs over a fire. It seemed eerie and disgusting, but the more the pain intensified, the more resplendent her smile became. Even the torture from hell was unable to twist her inner joy.
When all of this settled down, she laid on the ground and lifted an arm into the air, pointing at the stone ceiling above. The Heaven Climbing Vine crawled up along her arm as the hell snake coiled around it, hissing as it flickered its forked tongue.
“Hehe, the heavens are so far away!”
“Commander, I’ve come to collect the higher cultivation method of the school of Legalism.”
Hua Chengzan currently sat before the window as he dealt with the matters of the school of Legalism when Qian Rongzhi entered through the door and greeted him. She had changed into a new set of clothes, and her regular smile had become even gentler.
“Rongzhi! Congratulations on reaching Foundation Establishment!” Hua Chengzan was mildly surprised before congratulating her with a smile. However, he was astounded inside. Qian Rongzhi was shining with vigour. Her bearing had changed drastically. The sinister feeling had all but vanished, actually giving off a strange sense of charm instead. It left him amazed.
However, he was not tempted by her at all. Instead, he sighed emotionally inside, She has finally become something even more vicious.
Qian Rongzhi said, “It’s all thanks to commander’s fostering!”
After a simple conversation, Hua Chengzan handed the new cultivation method to Qian Rongzhi and carried out a routine explanation. “The powers of the Hell realm are great, but they’re dangerous at the same time. You need to be extremely cautious when you interact and use them. The slightest carelessness can lead to extreme pain. There have been many disciples of legalism who’ve committed suicide out of madness during cultivation.”
“Thank you for your advice, commander. I will be careful,” Qian Rongzhi said modestly.
“Have you chosen the hell you’ll be interacting with?”
Hua Chengzan could not help but ask when Qian Rongzhi bade farewell and was about to leave.
“The Venomous Snake hell.”