Chapter 640 – Eating the Tree
After slashing out, Li Qingshan rushed towards the great banyan tree without looking back. A few sun vines swept towards him, but he hesitated with the Traitorous Demon sword in his hand. He did not lash out. Two streams of water sprayed out from the soles of his feet like two elongated tracks. He abruptly turned and slid to one side with the momentum.
Hua Chenglu could hear the sun vines whistling past her ears. She glanced behind at the group of almost twenty Foundation Establishment cultivators in pursuit, and her heart leapt into her throat. Only now did she understand what he meant by she might be in danger if she came with him.
This was not simply danger. This was basically almost certain doom.
Although he had erased his aura, over a dozen sun vines still swept over, almost completely sealing off his path forward and only leaving a gap the size of a skylight. The small dwarf could pass through it with ease, but he was in trouble.
“Hang onto me tightly!”
Hua Chenglu felt her waist tighten, having been grabbed by his large hand. She went from being carried on his side to being carried in his arms. His other hand passed by her perky bottom and grabbed her legs. Before she could even think about it, she clung onto him firmly out of instinct, pressing her face against his chest and becoming wrapped in a strong, masculine smell.
Li Qingshan took a step back and waves surged from under his feet. The two of them were vertical, with their heads forward and legs back, spinning as they passed through the skylight-sized gap by a hair’s breadth.
Thump! Hua Chenglu heard a rumble before realising that was the sound of his heartbeat. Compared to her jittery little heart that was beating frantically, his heartbeat was powerful and calm. Even when facing such terrifying danger, it did not become flurried at all.
Her nervous and terrified feelings calmed down as a result. She did not regret following him at all, because she was confident that no matter what danger she faced, this man would be there to protect her.
Suddenly, she remembered that when they first ran across one another by chance, he had stood forward in front of her without hesitating at all, facing the undefeatable West Gate Granny. She had forgotten how she felt back then. Thinking about it now, she seemed to have missed something for all these years, which left her a little lost.
Li Qingshan had faced danger countless times already, so something like this was truly nothing. With the Wave Treading Form and the arcane artifact shoes, he constantly maneuvered about, overcoming each obstacle and arriving next to the great banyan tree in the blink of an eye.
Up close, it did not feel like a tree, but an unbelievably wide and tall wall made of wood. The iron-grey tree bark was covered with wrinkles, giving off a tough and heavy feeling. He was not too worried whether the Traitorous Demon sword could cut through the bark. After all, even the dwarf had managed to do that.
However, just to be safe, he still used the evil eye on the hilt, observing the “points of weakness” in the wooden wall. As the evil eye let out a ring of strange light, he immediately saw something different. He could not help but be mildly surprised. He discovered many dark, circular markings under the bark.
The bark seemed to be hollow underneath. Were there boring insects in the tree?
Without any time to consider whether one of the Ten Daemon Kings, the Great Banyan Tree King, would suffer from insect problems, he glanced back. Si Qing’s lackeys had already pressed over. When he made his way out again later, if he could not tear through them in a single stroke, then he would be caught in a pincer attack from the sun vines. If he were alone, then so be it, but the problem was he had to take some small baggage, Hua Chenglu, with him.
He made up his mind. He was going to be in danger anyway, so he might as well go in, take a look, and satisfy his curiosity. He swung the Traitorous Demon sword around and dove head-first into the great banyan tree with Hua Chenglu.
The wooden wall caved in, forming a circular hole. It extended inwards endlessly, where the surface was extremely neat and smooth.
A ray of light suddenly illuminated the dark space. The two figures that embraced one another firmly rushed into the darkness with the light.
Li Qingshan caught his footing and looked around. The bark of the great banyan tree was alarmingly thick, almost reaching ten meters, and it was filled with extremely dense spiritual qi.
If it were not for the strange ability of the Traitorous Demon sword, he would have never discovered the hidden hole inside no matter how powerful his soul sense was, much less reach the hole in a single stroke. He would not be able to avoid the tragic fate of running into the tree.
However, he had made it in here at last. Li Qingshan exhaled and discovered Hua Chenglu was still clinging onto him firmly. He could not help but smile. “Hey, you can let go now!”
“Ah!” Hua Chenglu let go in a hurry. Her face was bright red. Her heart that had calmed down after so much difficulty began to thump violently again, but not out of fear. She feigned calmness by looking around, and her eyes gradually became accustomed to the darkness, only to find a long cave leading off to who knows where!
“Are we in the tree?”
The ray of light suddenly began to vanish. Li Qingshan turned around, only to see the tree bark close up at an alarming rate, healing perfectly very soon. Complete darkness set in.
Hua Chenglu could not help but inch a little closer to Li Qingshan. Li Qingshan smiled. “Come, I’ll give you something nice to eat!” He picked up the tree bark that resembled a pillar from a buddha’s hall. It gave off an extremely refreshing smell.
Hua Chenglu extended the tip of her tongue hesitantly and licked it gently. Immediately, wood spiritual qi surged into her body. A faint taste filled her mouth, and the hidden injuries from the battle rapidly recovered. She could not help but lick it a few more times.
“You could just break off a piece. When are you going to lick it until? Here!” Li Qingshan could not help but laugh aloud, breaking off a piece and passing it to her. However, her demeanour earlier truly was very enchanting.
Hua Chenglu also realised her actions earlier were rather inelegant, which made her cheeks burn. She accepted the wooden piece and shoved it into her mouth, biting down hard before exclaiming in pain. She clutched her cheek and stamped her foot. “You’re bullying me! How am I supposed to chew something so tough?”
“Then just suck on it slowly!”
Li Qingshan laughed. He found the topic of the conversation to be very interesting, going from licking to biting to sucking. He gazed at her pink, glossy lips and wondered who would be fortunate enough in the future.
Hua Chenglu was no longer a child. She had spent plenty of time in the Parlour of Clouds and Rain too, so how could she not notice the teasing words he said? If another man had spoken to her like that, she would have lost her temper long ago, but she was unable to get angry at him.
She said in discontent, “Big brother Li, you’re so inappropriate. So much for calling you big brother. When I get back, I’ll tell big sister Qiongzhi and my elder brother!” That was what she said, but even if Hua Chengzan and Han Qiongzhi interrogated her, she would never tell them this.
“Alright, alright, alright. It’s all my fault. It’s just like what they say, a friend’s sister is off limits!”
Li Qingshan carried the pillar of bark and casually broke off a piece, shoving it in his mouth and chomping away. The bark was very tough, but it was not tougher than his teeth. The grassy scent hid hints of sweetness, which made it feel a little like eating sugar cane. He chewed until it ran out of taste and spat it out before breaking off another piece. The spiritual qi in his dantian suddenly began to recover much faster.
He took out the Three Absolutes Calligraphy again and condensed another strand of sword Qi in his body, allowing it to freely absorb his spiritual qi and grow stronger. He thought, Just half of my spiritual qi has already made it so impressive. If it takes all of it, then wouldn’t that mean it can even kill Golden Core cultivators?
Hua Chenglu saw how delighted he was with eating the bark. She shoved another piece into her mouth and muttered ambiguously, “Hmph, as long as you know!”