Chapter 606 – Planning and Preparing
“Filial piety your mum’s head! Give it back!”
Li Qingshan cursed aloud, extending his hand to take back the Jade Melting cauldron. How dare you take advantage of me even at a time like this.
Ru Xin turned around and coughed twice, speaking with an old, hoarse voice, “My dear son, your mum’s headache feels much better with the bit of filial concern you’ve shown.”
Li Qingshan grabbed her shoulder. There was a flash of light near her shoulder, and it gave off a pliable, soft blue glow. He was unable to grab her firmly, his hand sliding off.
Ru Xin’s feet slid away, moving seven or eight steps away from him. She rebuked loudly, “You’ve given it away already, and you’re still trying to take it back! Is this what a proper man would do?”
“Whether I’m a proper man or not is not for you to decide.” Li Qingshan extended his hand. The centre of his palm glowed with light, expanding like a vortex and producing a great suction force.
Ru Xin swayed towards him. She grabbed the Jade Melting cauldron in one hand and casually swung the other backwards. A band of blue light also flew towards the centre of the swirl, and it collapsed immediately.
Li Qingshan called out, “Alright! Then watch this!”
Within the narrow space, the two of them moved about, unleashing various techniques.
Li Qingshan completely unleashed everything he had comprehended about water during the past few days. He used the water spiritual energy to conjure a myriad of things. Whether it was entanglement or powerful attacks, Ru Xin ingeniously nullified them all one by one. The bottles and jars in the room remained untouched.
Of course, this was also because Li Qingshan had not used his full strength. This was not a spar. He only wanted to see Ru Xin’s comprehension of and capabilities with water. Sure enough, Li Qingshan was not disappointed. If she assumed her Merfolk form, she would probably be even more skilled.
The two of them scrambled around the alchemy room for a while, but in the end, Li Qingshan’s reactions were still a little faster. He managed to trap her. In order to prevent her from escaping, an arm wrapped around in front of her, while the other reached towards the Jade Melting cauldron. He laughed. “I’d like to see where else you can escape to!”
Suddenly, Ru Xin called out for him to stop, which stunned Li Qingshan. He discovered that they were currently a little too intimate. With his hand around her, it was as if she was leaning against him in his embrace. Her black hair drifted about like clouds as her slender, beautiful nape seemed like it was made out of jade. All of it was inches away.
Li Qingshan wrinkled his nose and caught the heavy fragrance of medicine, together with an indescribable, faint scent.
Ru Xin asked with a smile, “Does it smell good?”
Li Qingshan released her in a hurry. She turned around with a face of mischief. At a time like this, shouldn’t it be the woman who was embarrassed? Why did he feel a little embarrassed instead?
Ru Xin used her slender fingers to tidy her black hair. “Don’t tell me you’ve become carried away by lust, making you second-doubt yourself now that you’ve seen someone else, wanting the new after having grown tired of the old, wanting to be faithless? You want to let down the first young miss of the Han family!”
Li Qingshan said, “Definitely not. I never second-doubt myself when I see someone else, nor do I grow tired of the old when I want the new. Although I do get a little carried away by lust, I’m not exactly faithless. In around another three years is the day of our marriage. I’ll definitely send you an invitation when that time comes around.”
The smile on Ru Xin’s face faded slightly as she gazed at Li Qingshan with her eyes that were as gentle as water. Li Qingshan felt like something had changed in there, but he was unable to grasp it.
Ru Xin asked, “Will that be fine?”
“What fine?” Li Qingshan was confused.
“Nothing. Well, you’ve given away your alchemy cauldron, you’ve taken advantage of me, so it’s also about time you left.” Ru Xin waved her hand like she was driving away sheep.
“You want to chase me away right after benefiting? And who’s taken advantage of who! I still have something else I need your assistance with.”
“I want to deepen my comprehension of water.”
“Isn’t your comprehension much greater than mine?”
“That’s merely using brute force through my talent. In terms of actual comprehension, I’m nowhere close to you.”
After several days of consideration, Li Qingshan understood why he still lacked a comprehension of water despite reaching the fourth layer of the spirit turtle. That was because the talent that the spirit turtle had brought was far too powerful. He could control water as easily as controlling his own limbs and fingers.
It was exactly because everything had come too easily that he lost the desire to explore it. He spent most of his time and effort on how to refine even more regions of water so that he could increase his strength.
Instead, it was those regular cultivators who possessed insufficient talent that were forced to constantly refine their understanding and comprehend diligently. This could also be regarded as a trade-off, but he believed making up for what he paid as the price would not be difficult.
Ru Xin glanced at the Jade Melting cauldron in her hand. “Alright, for the sake of the filial love you’ve shown me.”
Li Qingshan said, “I feel like I’m going to choke you to death in person sooner or later.”
At this exact moment, Liu Chuanfeng’s calls rang out from outside the alchemy room. “Qingshan, are you in there? If you are, please answer. There’s something I want to discuss with you.”
Ru Xin said, “It’s probably related to the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures. You better go. I’ll refine the Jade Melting cauldron for now. Once you’ve handled all your matters, we can find a suitable place to cultivate.”
“Can you stop being so strange? Forget it, I’m going!”
Li Qingshan shivered. When she decided to be gentle, her voice, tone, and expression would all be as gentle as they could get. It could basically melt people’s hearts. However, having grown accustomed to her foul mouth, he felt very unaccustomed to when she behaved like this.
Ru Xin smiled. “My good son, you better piss off!”
Li Qingshan shook his head with a bitter smile. He had truly asked for that this time.
Watching Li Qingshan leave, Ru Xin sat down and began refining the Jade Melting cauldron, but she was unable to find peace mentally. She murmured, “Is this fine?”
Li Qingshan arrived outside the door and discovered it was not only Liu Chuanfeng who had been waiting here all this time. Sun Fubai stood to one side cheerfully with a radiant vigour.
“Fubai, you’ve reached Foundation Establishment! Congratulations, congratulations!” Li Qingshan paced over and congratulated him.
“It’s all thanks to your assistance, Qingshan.”
“May I ask why all of you are looking for me?” Li Qingshan asked with a smile.
Li Qingshan looked around and saw Liu Zhangqing, Hua Chengzan, Chu Danqing, Han Tieyi, and so on.
When Li Qingshan descended from the sky, the entire academy learnt that he had returned. He was no longer the insignificant minor figure of the past anymore. As a matter of fact, many matters had to involve him.
Hua Chengzan had come so that he could handle the matters of the Hawkwolf Guard. As the vice commander, he could handle affairs in his place, but there were still many matters that required his decision as the commander.
Liu Zhangqing had come to discuss the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures with him. This was something major that had to do with the glory of the Clear River prefecture, so he had to be involved as the Scarlet Hawk commander.
A great group of Foundation Establishment cultivators huddled around him, wanting to pull him aside first to discuss important matters. There was also Han Tieyi who remained silent and Chu Danqing who faltered, as well as a few familiar faces standing in the distance, which included Hao Pingyang, Li Long, and so on. Clearly, their cultivations were too low, so they were too afraid to gather over and stand with these school leaders.
Li Qingshan shook his head inside. Sure enough, he had a lot of matters he had to deal with during his return this time. He said after some thought, “How about this, everyone? I’ll return to the Cloudwisp island first, and then I’ll visit you individually.” He greeted Hao Pingyang and everyone else in the distance with a nod.
Liu Chuanfeng felt utterly honoured. He felt like Li Qingshan truly had a kind heart and a strong sense of personal loyalty.
Returning to Cloudwisp island, bamboo still covered it, but the pathway was completely clean. As they approached the bamboo loft, they heard the murmur of people. The school of Novels had gained many more disciples again, becoming much more likely. It was no longer as desolate as in the past.
Sun Fubai recalled the past and could not help but sigh a little. They had gone from the miserable circumstance where they had no disciples and even their school leader was a Qi Practitioner to three Foundation Establishment cultivators present in the school. Even the disciples began accumulating. The situations were basically worlds apart.
“This is all because of you, Qingshan!”
Li Qingshan smiled. “I only came up with a few ideas. You had a hand in this too with your skillful management.”
Liu Chuanfeng said, “We’re going to hold the entrance examination soon. We’ll rope in a few more disciples then, and it’ll probably be even more lively.”
Li Qingshan said, “Really? I feel like it has already been so long since the last entrance examination.”
Because of the Marquis of Ruyi’s death, Liu Zhangqing had to continue with his role of prefect at the end of the day. Under his control, the various schools banded together and reorganised the entire prefecture.
The school of Mohism repaired those damaged cities, rebuilding the homes of common folk. The disciples of confucianism took on roles of district magistrates, restoring order and governance. The schools of Legalism and the Military worked together to strengthen their suppression of active bandits.
The school of Agriculture passed out various seeds. These seeds had all been rinsed in spiritual qi, so their first harvest yield would be extremely startling. They also sent out disciples of agriculture to help with the farming and pass out grain to ensure that no one would starve.
The Clear River prefecture walked out of the shadow of war. The common folk all recovered their peace and quiet, so Liu Zhangqing wanted to restart the entrance examinations and accept disciples from abroad so that they could replenish the forces they had lost through the war.
Liu Chuanfeng said, “Yeah. We have to take it up a notch with the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures this time. That’s the only way for us to accept even more disciples in the upcoming entrance examination.”
“How will these exhibition matches work?”
Sun Fubai said, “The various schools will first separate and compete in their respective fields. The school of the Military will perform military formations, the school of Music will compete with music, and so on. As for our school of Novels, it’ll obviously be our ability to turn fiction into reality. The main competition comes after.”
Li Qingshan asked, “How powerful are the school of Novels from other prefectures?”
Liu Chuanfeng sighed heavily. “Originally, they were basically the same as us in the past. They were all pitiful. Some prefectures didn’t even have formal school leaders. If it had not been one of the ten standard schools the founding emperor designated, we would have been abolished a long time ago. But in recent years, they’ve copied our idea, and their situation improved as well.”
“On the other hand, the Clear River prefecture had been at war for several years, so instead of developing, the Cloudwisp association shrunk. I really can’t say that victory is guaranteed for us this time around.”
Li Qingshan smiled. “You can call this bringing prosperity to one, bringing prosperity to all. It’s not necessarily bad if the school of Novels can restore its reputation.”
Sun Fubai said, “Yeah. I’ve already contacted the various prefectures. We want to establish an association that spans the entire Ruyi commandery. The larger of an audience we have, the closer to the limit we can push the power of the school of Novels. They’re quite interested too. As a result, the battle has become even more important. It’s not only for the entrance exam. It’ll also determine which prefecture can occupy the dominant position.”
With the books Li Qingshan had plagiarised so far, if he could publish them across the entire Ruyi commandery, the rate at which he gathered the power of belief would definitely multiply. Because of the war, the population of the Clear River prefecture had fallen drastically, while the eight other prefectures were not particularly affected. It was an extremely vast market.
But thinking about it the other way, the schools of Novels in other prefectures must also want to expand their influence. By then, just publishing whose work first would be an issue. If this was handled badly, it could lead to a dispute, so the dominant position was relatively important.
As they spoke, the three of them arrived before the bamboo loft. Li Qingshan said, “Let’s go in and properly plan and prepare!”