Chapter 607 – The Secret of the Painting Tomb
Chu Danqing paced around the room anxiously, opening the window and glancing in the direction of Cloudwisp island from time to time, constantly sighing. He had always been an excitable person, but there was no one else he could discuss it with apart from Li Qingshan with how important the matter was.
“Danqing, what have you encountered that has made you so anxious?”
Li Qingshan’s voice suddenly rang out from behind. Chu Danqing turned around in joy, only to see Li Qingshan stride into the room and sit down before the window without holding back, leaning against the small table.
He discussed with Liu Chuanfeng and Sun Fubai for a while and came up with a few ideas before leaving Cloudwisp island. He understood his strengths and weaknesses very well. In terms of attachment to and understanding of the school of Novels, he paled in comparison to Liu Chuanfeng. In terms of meticulousness and dealing with matters, he paled in comparison to Sun Fubai. He would not be of much help even if he stayed behind, so he was better off dealing with all these matters before learning about water from Ru Xin.
“If you require me to fight anywhere, I can guarantee victory. As for everything else, I’ll leave it all to you.”
With that, Li Qingshan bade farewell and took his leave, visiting the school of Painting that was relatively closer first.
“Qingshan, your cultivation has progressed yet again!”
Chu Danqing sighed as he sat down on the other side of the table. He wanted to pour some tea, but Li Qingshan had already picked up the teapot, pouring a cup for himself before downing it all. He smiled. “It’s been a while. You’ve picked up on these civilities.”
He could still vividly recall Chu Danqing’s tactlessness when he first met him. Now that he had been through matters of the world, his innocence and gullibility had faded away. In particular, with how his eyebrows were pinched in worry, he seemed much more mature.
“This isn’t civilities. Your cultivation… Forget it, let’s not talk about this for now. I have… Sigh, I really don’t know where to start.” Chu Danqing had originally made up his mind about asking Li Qingshan for help, but he had never asked for assistance before, so he had no idea how to mention it to Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan’s smile receded. He placed the teacup on the table. “I still haven’t forgotten the kindness that master Chu has shown me. If you have any difficulties you need my help with, just mention it. I won’t object at all. Honestly, what I hate the most is never forgetting about the great kindness someone has shown me, let alone clinging onto favours owed even until death. It feels horrible to be in debt to someone. I’d prefer paying back their kindness straightforwardly.”
Chu Danqing ruminated for a while. “You know that my master had more than just me as his disciple…”
A wisp of steam rose up from the teacup, coiling and dispersing. Chu Danqing explained with his eyebrows furrowed as Li Qingshan listened attentively and quietly.
As it turned out, Chu Shidao had many more disciples other than Chu Danqing. There were three who were the most outstanding, all having undergone the first heavenly tribulation and reached Foundation Establishment.
But ever since then, they set up their own schools and sects. They personally believed they had already obtained Chu Shidao’s true legacy, so they no longer treated Chu Shidao with much courtesy. As a matter of fact, they became envious of Chu Shidao’s reputation and status, so they secretly brought up misdeeds of the past and spread rumors.
Chu Shidao was dispirited. He refused to argue with his disciples, which was why he retired deep into the mountains, taking on Chu Danqing as his last disciple and diligently guiding him to adulthood.
Li Qingshan slapped his thigh. “If I were to meet such ungrateful scum, I’ll definitely turn them into pulpy scum for real!”
“For real?” Chu Danqing was unable to understand what Li Qingshan was implying. He had no idea that Li Qingshan could crush people into pulp.
“Keep going. Since you don’t have any contact with them anymore, what’s it got to do with them?”
“A few days ago, they suddenly came and visited master’s grave. I thought they had finally realised their errors and decided to change, but I never thought they would begin discussing how to split up master’s estate afterwards. They hadn’t even participated in master’s funeral!” Chu Danqing was extremely furious.
When Chu Shidao was buried, the war between the humans and daemons still raged. No cultivators were bold enough to enter a place as dangerous as the Clear River prefecture. Now that the situation had gradually settled down, the people that needed to come obviously came.
Li Qingshan nodded. Chu Shidao’s primary estate was obviously paintings. Any single painting from him could be used as a spiritual artifact, and some of his finer works were even equivalent to arcane artifacts in power. Importantly, they did not have a particularly high demand on the cultivator’s strength and cultivation.
For example, the Heavenly Maiden Scatters the Blossoms Li Qingshan had won, even Qi Practitioners could use it and summon out the heavenly maiden, yet it could rival the power of Foundation Establishment cultivators, which made it worth even more than regular arcane artifacts. With property like that up for grabs, it was no wonder that Chu Danqing’s senior brothers and sisters would become restless.
Chu Danqing took out an invitation card created from ink. “I managed to evade this situation that day, but I really won’t be able to evade it this time.”
Li Qingshan took the invitation card and studied it. An ink-black carp suddenly became alarmed and swam around. He said in confusion, “Do they really deserve a piece of the estate just because they asked for it? And, you’re in the Clear River prefecture, so with the support of prefect Liu and other fellow cultivators, where would the three of them find the courage to touch you? Why must you be so worried?”
Chu Danqing said, “This is a matter between my seniors and I. It has never been a matter where outsiders should become involved in. Qingshan, you might not be a part of the school of Painting, but my master trusted you very much. Sigh, my three seniors are all people with a certain level of status identity now, so they would never stoop to the level of fighting if it were only for these paintings. However, this is connected to a secret treasure too. If I insist on ignoring them, it’ll lead to great trouble if they divulge the secret out of anger.”
Li Qingshan became curious. “What secret treasure?”
Chu Danqing sucked in a deep breath. “The secret of the Painting Tomb!”
“In the past, the Five Absolutes Immortal left behind everything he had learnt in the five absolute tombs of the sword, zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting for people who were destined to find them. This is an extremely-widespread legend across the nine provinces. Actually, you can’t even call it a legend anymore, as fortunate cultivators will enter one of the tombs and obtain a legacy every few decades or centuries, allowing them to rise up meteorically.”
Anticipation filled Chu Danqing’s eyes, but it was not exactly for a meteoric rise. It was rumored that the only reason the school of Painting could survive until now was because of the Five Absolutes Immortal. As a disciple of the school of Painting, it would be his great fortune to see one of his paintings.
As soon as Li Qingshan heard Chu Danqing mention this person, he gathered his focus. Even the murals in the grand hall of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga were by him, which made it evident how powerful he was in the past. The legacies he left behind would basically be priceless. Even his heart skipped a beat when he heard about it.
“In other words, you know where the Painting Tomb is?”
Chu Danqing shook his head. “No one knows where it is. Actually, the five absolute tombs don’t exist in this world, or they would have been thoroughly explored and emptied out a long time ago. Why would we ever get a chance?”
“Rumor has it that the five absolute tombs each have a space of their own, drifting through the nine provinces. No one knows where they are, nor does anyone know how to enter them. Even those great masters past the third heavenly tribulation cannot force their way in. They can only rely on their luck. Even if cultivators are fortunate enough to enter the place, they’ll often only catch a glimpse of the entire place before being teleported out.”
Li Qingshan said, “In other words, master Chu found some clues as well?”
“Yeah, they’re merely some groundless clues, yet they somehow managed to reach my three seniors’ ears. If I knew where the Painting Tomb was, I would have entered the place and accepted a legacy a long time ago. Would they still be able to trouble me?”
Chu Danqing smiled bitterly, but Li Qingshan noticed that his expression was rather unnatural. Clearly, he was not telling the truth. This definitely was not everything Chu Danqing knew about the Painting Tomb. However, he soon came to a realisation.
This was connected to such a great sum of wealth, so great that even brothers connected by blood would be willing to turn against one another. He was not close to Chu Danqing at all, so caution was essential. He only had to help him deal with his seniors, and that would basically be paying back Chu Shidao. He had no need to worry about anything else.
Right as he thought like that, Chu Danqing’s voice directly rang out in his mind, communicating with him through soul sense. “Actually, I know when and where the Painting Tomb will appear next, as well as the method to enter. I’m only afraid they’re eavesdropping somehow, so I specially said that to mislead them.”
Li Qinsghan could not help but laugh. Would you call that being sharp-witted or honest? He felt much better inside, and he also used his soul sense. “Aren’t you afraid I’ll turn against you when the opportunity arrives and steal your legacy?”
“Master said you’re heartless and cruel, but not someone who forgoes friendship in the face of benefits. And, the Painting Tomb is large enough. By then, we might be able to enter together and take a look, but I can’t guarantee that.” Chu Danqing laughed, bearing some resemblance to his innocence of the past. He also seemed even more honest.
Li Qingshan slammed the invitation card against the table. “Since they want a discussion, then let’s discuss with them!”
Chu Danqing said, “Even if I die, I won’t let them have this!”
Li Qingshan left the school of Painting. After a moment of consideration, he visited the school of Legalism and saw Hua Chengzan.
Hua Chengzan remembered Li Qingshan’s other identity, Northmoon, as soon as he saw him. However, he also remembered how he had saved his life, as well as how the Clear River prefecture would have never returned to peace if it were not for him. And, he had saved Qiu Haitang in the marquis’ estate a few days ago.
With the kindness he had shown, even if Hua Chengzan had to pay him back with his life, it would be worth it. He secretly made up his mind to tell no one about this.
“Qingshan, you’ve finally come! Let’s go to the Parlour of Clouds and Rain!”
“Why’re we going to the parlour?”
“Haitang told me to contact her as soon as you got back. She’s holding a banquet to thank you in the parlour.”
Sigh, so it’s only a formal thank-you in other words. Those stories about pledging yourself to your savior are all a lie!
Li Qingshan lamented inside, but it was only a man’s daydream at the end of the day, so he did not truly feel any disappointment. He smiled. “Since that’s the case, then let’s invite a few more people and have a good time!”
As a result, Li Qingshan invited Hao Pingyang, Li Long, and so on to the banquet. Apart from Han Tieyi, everyone attended the banquet happily.
Hua Chenglu learnt about it and grumbled about going, so Li Qingshan obviously invited her along. Upon considering how he had never handled any matters nor was he close with his subordinates despite being a commander, he simply invited along all the Hawkwolf guards in Clear River city.
As a result, it became quite an event. Even the various school leaders who were on friendly terms with Li Qingshan caught wind of it and went to check it out. In the very end, a great group of people had already gathered around him when he visited the Parlour of Clouds and Rain.
Standing before the parlour again, he recalled his past few visits. Both his status and mentality had changed drastically now. The parlour was ablaze with lights, illuminating the surroundings. Qiu Haitang had already come out in person to receive Li Qingshan.
Seeing how so many people had come, Qiu Haitang was surprised as well. She only saw Li Qingshan standing in front of the crowd, with respected Foundation Establishment cultivators of the academy all standing beside him as if they were following him as their leader. Even prefect Liu was among them, which made her sigh inside.
In the blink of an eye, of course he has become someone else altogether!