Chapter 563 – The Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind
“I hope I can reach Golden Core before the age of thirty!”
Li Qingshan gazed at the sky. The snow had just given away to the sun, and the skies were blue.
Han Tieyi raised an eyebrow. Although he said “hope”, his expression was filled with confidence. He did not seem like he was talking wildly, but declaring a simple truth, and nothing about it seemed impressive to him.
A handful of Golden Core cultivators had already died to Li Qingshan’s hands already, which was why he did not place too much attention to it. His current goal was a beeline to the highest “realm of kings” of the nine provinces, so he could not help himself as he gave off a sense of “arrogance”.
The other descendants of the Han family were amazed as well. He was not someone overly dependent on the Han family, but in the cultivation world, the strong would always be respected.
Han Anjun could not help but study Li Qingshan deeply when he heard that. Thirty-year-old Golden Core cultivators were very rare across the nine provinces. By then, his name would definitely echo through the world!
Ever since he laid his eyes on him, he already knew he was anything but mediocre and unambitious, but never had he thought there would be a day when he could mention the words “Golden Core” so easily. That was an objective even he had yet to reach. If he had to consider for the Han family, having a son-in-law like him was basically a blessing from heaven.
After Han Anguo died in battle, the heavy responsibilities of the patriarch landed on Han Anjun’s shoulders. Never had his burden felt so heavy before. If it were not for all the Golden Core cultivators of the Ruyi commandery who had died in battle and how the positions of the new Marquis of Ruyi and great general were undecided, the many resources that the Han family took up would have been carved up and taken away a long time ago.
A clan with only Foundation Establishment cultivators was only a small clan. However, a prodigious figure could change all of that. If Li Qingshan could use this talent to take on a powerful master, then the Han family would be able to brave the turmoil safely. Perhaps they might even end up with more than what they started with.
The snow began to fall again very soon. In the crooning winds, the hundred days were up, and the descendants of the Han family took off their mourning clothes before the grave.
Li Qingshan patted Han Qiongzhi’s shoulder. Han Qiongzhi looked back and smiled, but the rims of her eyes had reddened. She rested her head against his shoulder gently.
At this moment, she sensed something and suddenly looked back.
In the drifting snow, a figure walked over. Her footsteps were light and graceful like she was walking through thin air, while her wide sleeves and long hair rippled in the wind. Before she could even make out her appearance, she was overcome with the feeling of a supreme beauty walking over gracefully.
She squinted her eyes and peered through the snow and wind, suddenly catching a glimpse of the amazing beauty.
Her appearance was even more beautiful than she had imagined. She was the epitome of alluring beauty—no, it was not merely her appearance. Her pale clothes were wrapped around her waist by a blue silk band, accentuating her thin, slender figure. Her long, black hair that reached all the way to her knees drifted through the wind.
A pair of bare feet trudged over the translucent snow, advancing forwards firmly. Whether it were mountains of corpses or rivers of blood, nothing could make her footsteps waver. Her eyes were like deep, still pools of water, gazing straight ahead hollowly, yet also seeming like they took in everything there was in the world.
Compared to the simple title of “beauty”, she possessed a charm that could not be described with words. As a matter of fact, it was even enough for people to neglect her gender.
Who was she? Why was she here?
“Xiao An, you’ve come.” Li Qingshan looked back and smiled, but a sliver of surprise flashed through his eyes.
In the past, Xiao An had no concept of clothing. They were merely a layer that covered her body. But now, although she was dressed extremely simply, she gave off a feeling that this was her most optimal attire, radiating with unprecedentedly wonderful beauty.
As it seemed, it was probably a side-effect left behind from the recovery of her past memories. However, all people had a degree of love for beauty, so it was not necessarily a bad thing.
Han Qiongzhi exclaimed. How could she connect the person before her to that blank-faced child? Although he had mentioned Xiao An’s changes to her, this was still well beyond her imagination.
The descendants of the Han family nearby ogled at her. Regardless of their gender, they were unable to shift their gazes.
Xiao An arrived beside Li Qingshan and grabbed his hand quietly. Her face was as blank as always, but her hollow gaze livened up in that moment as if it expressed everything she was thinking.
Han Qiongzhi felt like she had been ignored before realising she was not the only one who had been ignored. Instead, it was everyone, the entire world. Only he existed in her eyes.
“Alright, it’s time to go.”
Li Qingshan seemed to understand what she wanted and nodded with a smile. He rubbed her head naturally, and she lowered her head slightly. Her red lips curled up, and the world full of ice and snow melted.
“Where are you going?” Han Qiongzhi asked, speaking up to break free from this feeling of being cut off.
“Oh, I mentioned it to you. The Annihilum Light Chan Master paid a special visit, remember?” Li Qingshan explained. Xiao An’s Path of White Bone and Great Beauty had reached a bottleneck. The Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga represented an optimal opportunity to her. He could also complete his promise to Golden Cicada.
“You’re leaving right now!?”
Han Qiongzhi asked in surprise, but she felt relieved inside for some reason. Disciples of buddhist sects like the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga were clearly forbidden from developing feelings of love, or she really would have no idea what she would do.
“Yeah. Don’t worry, I’ll return as soon as possible.”
Li Qingshan hugged Han Qiongzhi and bade farewell again. Seeing how reluctant she was to see him leave, his heart skipped a beat, and he declared loudly to Han Anjun, “General Han, once Qiongzhi’s three years of mourning comes to an end, I will propose a marriage to the Han family again to complete our engagement.”
Han Anjun remained as silent as always. It was different now. No matter what perspective he looked at it from, he could not turn him down any longer.
“Qingshan!” Han Qiongzhi’s eyes immediately pooled with tears. She turned her head away and wiped her eyes against her arm as she let out a smile. “Alright, come back soon. Be careful on the way.”
Li Qingshan waved his hand. Clouds rose up beneath his feet, and he vanished into the wind and snow with Xiao An.
Before he went to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, there was one more person Li Qingshan had to see—Gu Yanying. He was still a Scarlet Hawk commander after all. He had not been a particularly diligent worker most of the time, but without his superior’s permission, he could not leave his post without formally submitting a request for leave. And, there was something that he wanted to ask her help for.
The white cloud landed outside the Ruyi commander, in front of a tall, precipitous mountain.
The stairs led straight up. Li Qingshan raised his head. At the top of the mountain, a silver hawk spread its wings as if it was clashing with the wind and snow.
Li Qingshan made Xiao An wait below and climbed up the mountain alone. As soon as he came into contact with the formation, a voice called out, “Who has come?”
The stairs before him twisted with light and shadow, and a man in white appeared out of nowhere.
Li Qingshan clasped his hands. “The Scarlet Hawk commander of the Clear River prefecture, Li Qingshan, wishes to see commander Gu!”
“So you’re Li Qingshan. Commander Gu has already given instructions that you can go to the Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind to see her when you come.”
The White Wolf guard who watched the mountain studied Li Qingshan curiously. The Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind was where commander Gu cultivated. She rarely ever received guests there, so why did she give Li Qingshan such a great privilege?
“The Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind?”
The wind and snow vanished before his eyes. The sky seemed to be painted with blue.
Green lotus pads covered the rippling lake as pink lotuses bloomed between the leaves.
With a gust of warm wind, the lotus pads rippled up and down, delivering a wave of fragrance like the height of summer.
The thick spiritual qi and heavy fragrance of flowers merged with the warm winds. It was over ten times denser than the Academy of the Hundred Schools in the Clear River prefecture. Just taking in a deep breath was enough to refresh the mind.
From the outside, the lake only seemed like a small lake at most, but upon stepping through the formation, Li Qingshan discovered that the lake was extremely large, on par with Moon Court lake. It stretched as far as the eye could see, just like the poem verse “the lotus leaves with their endless green touches the skies.”
TL: The poem is referring to Leaving Jingci Temple at Dawn to Send off Lin Zifang, which you can read an array of different translations in the following links:
The lotus leaves and flowers bloomed endlessly against the seasons and against all logic with an unexpected sense of glory.
The formation that envelops this place is something else. It can actually twist space. It’s probably the handiwork of a ‘king’, and it can’t be destroyed so easily.
Li Qingshan thought to himself as he shot across the surface of the lake. He heard the pleasant sound of chimes and flew in that direction, making out a delicate waterside pavilion clustered with lotus pads and flowers very soon. Wind chimes hung from the eaves.
Compared to the expansive lake, the waterside pavilion was unexpectedly small.
Gu Yanying walked out. Her long hair reached her waist, drifting gently in the warm breeze. A smile appeared on her face. She lacked a hint of valiance compared to before, actually giving off the feeling that she was at home.
On the terrace by the lake was a rattan table and a few rattan chairs.
Li Qingshan did not hold back, personally pulling out a chair and sitting down. Gu Yanying picked up a tea pot and personally poured him a cup, pushing it before him.
Li Qingshan stared at the tea before him and joked, “If Li Qingshan was just Li Qingshan, would he receive treatment like this?”
“Since when wasn’t Li Qingshan Li Qingshan? It’s just a cup of tea.” Gu Yanying smiled and sat down before him.
Li Qingshan could not help but recall how she had invited him to a cup outside Qingyang city. Back then, he had yet to understand just how great of a distance existed between them. Compared to then, the way she treated him had not changed intrinsically at all.
To her, it had just been a cup of alcohol!
She was as composed as before, while he had developed far too many thoughts in comparison. He finished the entire cup of tea and cut right to the chase. “I’ve come to put in a notice for leave with you, commander, so that I can send Xiao An off to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga.”
“That’s no problem.”
“There’s something else that I’d like commander’s assistance with. Please pass this Origin Spirit pill to general Han Anjun.”
Li Qingshan had thought this through. Han Anjun was currently at late Foundation Establishment. If he possessed this Origin Spirit pill, his chances at reaching Golden Core would definitely increase drastically. It could also make up for his regret of failing to save Han Anguo slightly.
However, he was unable to explain the origins of the Origin Spirit pill. It was far more precious than True Spirit pills could ever be.
Gu Yanying said, “It’s nothing major, but I think you should still be the one to give it to him! You can just say I gave it to you. This is quite the lavish gift. Let alone marrying off his daughter, even selling off his daughter might be possible.”
The issue regarding the origins of the Origin Spirit pill that caused Li Qingshan the greatest headache had been resolved as a result. He was obviously willing to accept the good graces that came with it too. Surely it would give him some bonus credit once he told Han Qiongzhi everything!
Gu Yanying said, “If you have any other troubles in the future, feel free to come and find me. My identity can still be of some use.”
“This…” Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow. He sure was “privileged”.
“Actually, I’ll have some things that I need your assistance with too. Hehe, just ‘Li Qingshan’ probably would not receive treatment like this.” Gu Yanying stood up and paced around, looking back with a smile.
“Just mention it, commander.”
Sure enough, there was no free lunch in the world, but Li Qingshan instead preferred this kind of mutual benefit as equals.
Gu Yanying said solemnly, “But before this, it’s best if I make some things clear.”