Chapter 60 – Coming Across a Spiritual Artifact
The black ox said nothing more. Only when Li Qingshan turned around did he say, “When you return, you can begin practising the Tiger Demon’s Fist of Bone Forging. If you practise the ox but not the tiger, it won’t be an ability.”
Li Qingshan’s body paused, but his feet continued onwards. No matter where this path would lead him, he would go down it without looking back. It was for his own sake as well as for the child in front of him.
The black ox placed all of his focus on Li Qingshan. He taught Xiao An the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty because of Li Qingshan and because it was convenient. Was the Strength of Nine Oxen and Two Tigers that he taught Li Qingshan really just an inferior, mediocre ability?
Li Qingshan searched through the Black Wind stronghold for his spoils of this battle. Xiao An followed behind him with clattering steps. Very soon, Li Qinghshan found a granary. All of the grain in there had been plundered from various villages, prepared for the winter. Who knows just how many ordinary people would freeze or starve to death because of this.
Afterwards, he found a store room filled with miscellaneous items; he also found an armoury. The store room was filled with items like alcohol, meat and salt, while the armoury stored regular weapons as well. None of them could match the Soaring Dragon sword in his hand, so he did not take special note of them either. However, no matter how he searched, he was unable to find the most precious treasury. However, he did find quite a lot of silver and silver notes in the rooms of the various bosses.
The Black Wind stronghold had remained in the region of Qingyang for many years, so who knows how much treasure they had accumulated. There might have even been talismans. Xiao An was still the one who was the more attentive of the two. He discovered an extremely well-hidden mechanism in Xiong Xiangwu’s room. After activating the mechanism, a secret door appeared.
Upon opening the secret door, the glittering shine from gold and silverware almost blinded them. A wooden box contained a stack of silver notes, amounting to over ten thousand taels. However, the most precious items were probably still the paintings, calligraphy, and antiques that he knew nothing about.
Even Li Qingshan felt rather dazzled. He casually picked up an item, fiddling and admiring it for quite a while, exposing him as an ignorant bumpkin. He had never seen so much gold, silver, and treasure even across his two lives. However, after looking around, he failed to find another talisman, much to his disappointment. He thought of how Xiong Xiangwu would probably keep something as good as that by his side as a trump card if he really did have another and not leave it in a place like this to grow all mouldy. He could not help but feel slightly disappointed.
Xiao An ignored the gold and silver as if he had gotten sick of it from playing with the weapons earlier. Instead, he fished out paintings from a great, porcelain jar that stored scrolls in the corner. He no longer seemed like he was playing, instead examining them seriously. Some of the paintings were directly tossed aside by him on the ground after a single glance as if he had discerned them to be fakes.
Li Qingshan huddled over, but he saw that these paintings and calligraphy either depicted elegant scenery of mountains and water, or flowers, birds and people, or they were written in some kind of strange penmanship. He would struggle to recognise most of these words. They were all in an ancient, classical style anyway, so he was unable to distinguish between them.
Suddenly, he realised that he was basically illiterate in this world. He neither had the opportunity nor the need to learn in the mountain village. He probably could not even read most of the words in this world. He had to properly make up for this shortcoming when the opportunity arose. However, he felt very surprised inside. “You understand it?”
Xiao An nodded. Although he could not talk, he gestured to Li Qingshan, and Li Qingshan understood very quickly. As it turned out, Xiao An had remembered many more things after attaining an initial achievement with the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty and turning into a skeleton.
Li Qingshan clicked his tongue. “Maybe you’ll be able to remember your home very soon. You already understand paintings and calligraphy at such a young age, so you must have had an extraordinary education. Perhaps you aren’t even from an ordinary wealthy clan.”
Xiao An instead became lost with what Li Qingshan said. Even if he were naive, he knew he was currently unpresentable. Even if he found his home, could he meet his family?
Li Qingshan comforted him and said, “Don’t worry, I have a way. You’ll become nice and good very soon. I guarantee you that you’ll be no different from other children.”
Xiao An immediately cheered up. Although he did not know what Li Qingshan’s method was, he trusted him instinctively.
The black ox heard that from outside and snickered internally. How could he be from an ordinary wealthy clan? The little ghost’s soul had clearly been refined and strengthened with great power, which was why it had such tenacity. Even with the witch’s amateurish refinement, his soul had not dispersed; instead, he could even wield objects.
Li Qingshan might not have known just how strict the requirements of talent to practise the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty were, but the black ox did. When Xiao An managed to reach initial achievement successfully, even he was rather surprised. This was probably not due to only talent and intelligence. Instead, Xiao An probably had his spiritual intelligence awakened with some kind of spiritual medicine or technique.
Xiao An unfurled another painting scroll, and the room suddenly became filled with light. It outshone all of the gold and silver.
Li Qingshan shivered inside. He felt an extremely sharp sword qi attack him. It was actually ten times more terrifying than the killing strike from Yang Anzhi back in the restaurant. He instinctively grabbed Xiao An and pulled him behind to protect him.
The painting scroll fell to the ground, but it did not launch a terrifying attack like he had expected. After staring for a while, Li Qingshan carefully picked up the painting scroll, but he discovered that it was not a painting at all but calligraphy instead. The penmanship was vigorous and lively and extremely sharp. He truly could not recognise a single word.
It looked like a cursive script, yet it also did not. The entire calligraphy did not form a character at all. Instead, it was just messy, containing ascending and descending diagonal strokes. However, it just happened to penetrate the paper with vigour. It was extremely powerful. Every single stroke seemed like a slash a supreme swordsman had left behind on a cliff, leaving behind an impression that even time could not wear away.
The black ox said, “Kid, you’re quite lucky. You’ve actually found a true spiritual artifact!”
“A spiritual artifact!” Li Qingshan was overjoyed. He fiddled with the painting scroll in his hands as his heart was filled with delight. He rubbed Xiao An’s skull. “What a good Xiao An!”
Xiao An saw that Li Qinghshan was happy, so he lowered his head with the same amount of happiness.
“How do I use this?”
The black ox said, “Try channelling true qi into it.”
In his great battle against the Black Wind stronghold, Li Qingshan primarily used his physical strength, so he actually did not exhaust much of his true qi. Most of it remained. However, when he tried channeling his true qi into the scroll, the true qi leaked out of his body madly. All of his true qi had been sucked into the scroll.
Only when his body had run dry of true qi did one of the calligraphy strokes on the painting light up. With a flash, a descending diagonal flew out and swept past a box of gold and silver, landing on a stone wall of the secret room. It did not produce any startling disturbances, but a while later, the treasure box split open.
Only then did Li Qingshan return to his senses. He went up and took a look. All he saw was that the diagonal stroke had split all of the gold and silver in half with clean, smooth cuts. Then he inspected the heavy, stone wall and discovered an extremely thin and deep mark.
“So this is the might of a spiritual artifact!” Li Qingshan gulped. Let alone the Ox Demon Forges its Hide that he took pride in, even Xiong Xiangwu’s Strength Talisman of the Guardian Kings would never be able to block this attack. Moreover, he could sense that due to insufficient true qi, he had not even managed to unleash a tenth of the spiritual artifact’s power. If he could activate the several dozen strokes on the scroll simultaneously, just how powerful would that be?!