Chapter 644 – Tempted by a Gift
The Great Banyan Tree King smiled. “If you can do what I asked, I have a small gift for you.”
Li Qingshan’s eyes lit up. A small gift from the Great Banyan Tree King probably was not something useless. Although he knew it was not particularly likely, it would be nice if he could receive another phoenix feather.
“Then let me thank you ahead of time. Though, how am I supposed to find the insects hiding in the bark?”
The banyan tree’s bark was even tougher than rock, and it was filled with dense spiritual qi, making it difficult for soul sense to penetrate.
“You don’t have to worry. I’ll lead the way for you.”
The wall to Li Qingshan’s right suddenly twisted into a door opening, leading towards the burrowing mites.
“I’ve never seen a banyan tree do that!” Li Qingshan joked, basically replying to what the Great Banyan Tree King had said, Have you ever seen a banyan tree catch insects by itself?
“I’m the Great Banyan Tree King!”
Li Qingshan smiled softly. It was impossible to live and thrive without principles, but it would be no different if they stuck to the principles rigidly without any flexibility. All was impermanent. All was for the sake of better survival.
“Can you make this hole a little bigger?” Li Qingshan saw the hole, except it was less than a meter wide. If he had been a regular person incapable of flight, he would probably be forced to crawl on his knees.
“Kid, don’t be so picky!” the Great Banyan Tree King said. Clearly, making holes in his own body was not enjoyable.
All Li Qingshan could say to Hua Chenglu was, “Chenglu, just stay here and wait for me! I’ll come back for you once I deal with the insects, but I might also go straight outside. I’ll have senior tree king tell you when the time comes.”
“Big brother Li… I think I can squeeze in.” Hua Chenglu pouted. She did not want to be left behind here alone.
“Fine then! You better not say your big brother Li is taking advantage of you then.” Li Qingshan spread his arms with a smile. With a red face, all Hua Chenglu could do was deliver herself into his arms, wrapping her hands around his waist. She muttered to herself in a self-comforting manner. “This isn’t the first time anyway.”
A faint fragrance filled Li Qingshan’s nose, as if it had combined the fragrance of a thousand flowers. He had once caught this smell on Hua Chengzan, so it must have been connected to their cultivation method.
He was unable to pay close attention during the battle earlier, but right now, her waist felt so thin and gentle that he would wrap his hand around it with ease, while her chest was full and firm. She was indeed a flower in bloom, ready to be plucked. He lowered his head and smiled. “It really is nice.”
“Let’s get going!” Hua Chenglu glowed red, afraid to raise her head and look at him. All she could do was urge him to go.
Li Qingshan saw how embarrassed she was and stopped teasing her. He casually shoved the burrowing mites he had nailed to death into his hundred treasures pouch. They were still a Daemon General after all, and they had eaten a lot of the banyan tree, so they were teeming with spiritual energy. If he discarded them, it would be quite the pity.
Or in other words, they seemed disgusting, but they were filled with protein, providing many nutrients. He could still feed them to Milliped if nothing worked out.
He leapt into the long passageway. Azure ebbs of water surged in the surroundings. Compared to flying, it was better described as sliding through the tunnel. The path was not a straight line. Sometimes, they would suddenly enter a hole an insect burrowed, swerving around and changing directions.
Hua Chenglu did not feel anything during the battle earlier, but now that they focused on travelling, there was nothing that could distract her. A masculine smell constantly invaded her nose, while his hands on her waist and back gradually seemed to become scorching, passing through her thin clothes with a burning sensation.
She could not help but try to pull a little further away from him, but during a sharp turn, she could not control herself and pressed against him firmly again. It was as if he was constantly pressing and touching her breasts, except it was not with his hands. Her face became utterly flushed.
In the blink of an eye, they arrived in another cavern.
A white burrowing mite even slightly larger than the one before currently munched away.
Li Qingshan lifted up the Traitorous Demon sword. The demon heart in the hilt produced a ring of light, and he slashed out with a flash. A huge gash appeared in the burrowing mite, and before it could even respond, Li Qingshan had already rushed into the wound with the flash of his sword, scooping out his hand before leaping out again. He held another daemon core in his hand, directly suppressing it with the powers of the spirit turtle.
Having lost its daemon core, the burrowing mite directly went from a Daemon General to a regular daemonic beast. Its body shrank rapidly, reaching the size of a grown man in the end. Right when it was about to flee, a wave of blue light surged and enveloped the burrowing mite, crackling as it turned into ice and giving off white, cold mist.
The Ice Seal technique!
Li Qingshan did not practise frigid spiritual qi like the Ice Couple palace, but it was still a piece of cake for him to deal with a daemonic beast with this technique. He wanted to shove it into his hundred treasures pouch, but he failed.
As it turned out, the burrowing mite had been frozen, but it was not dead. As a result, Li Qingshan took out a delicately-crafted bug pouch and placed it in there. He did not know how to refine gu and insects, but a live insect that had once cultivated to Daemon General should have been worth quite a lot! He could always feed it to Milliped if nothing worked out.
Li Qingshan said loudy, “Next one!”
“Your sword is very interesting.”
The Great Banyan Tree King never expected him to kill a burrowing mite so easily. He also noticed the peculiarity with the Traitorous Demon sword.
This is a demonic sword, but only demonfolk should be able to use demonic swords. Is he a demonfolk in hiding? And, the power he uses to instantly suppress the daemon core is even more out of the ordinary.
Li Qingshan smiled. “If I don’t have the tools, why’d I accept the job?”
If he were a regular Foundation Establishment cultivator, just finding a way to kill these burrowing mites would be a problem. Even if they defeated them after much difficulty, it would still be very difficult to kill them if countless burrowing mites swarmed over together. With the Traitorous Demon sword in hand, Li Qingshan could find the daemon core in a single glance, and then he could suppress it with the spirit turtle’s power, which made it seem extremely easy.
However, the Great Banyan Tree King understood extremely well that as the fundamental source of power for daemons, daemon cores were not some weak point. As a matter of fact, they could be described as a strong point. When it mattered, they could even be wielded like how humans controlled artifacts to attack the enemy. They could only be directly suppressed if the enemy were an entire cultivation realm higher, and it still would not be suppressed so easily.
It’s no wonder I vaguely sensed a slight change in the heavenly secrets when Si Qing dug me up from the Mist province in the past. Sure enough, I’ve met someone interesting. This child is anyone but ordinary. It’s fate for me to meet him.
The Great Banyan Tree King thought as he opened up another path.
“Are you alright? Do you want to stay here and rest up?”
Li Qingshan sensed that Hua Chenglu’s breathing had become rather uneven, her heart was beating much faster, and even her body temperature had risen by a few degrees. It was not like he was an innocent young man who had no experience with women. He could obviously guess that perhaps it had something to do with him, which made him smile slightly.
Her clothes were woven from precious spiritual silk. It seemed stiff, but it was actually extremely light. By embracing each other so closely, he could basically imagine an outline of her figure.
Hua Chenglu bit her lip and shook her head gently. She did not want to stay here alone, and if she did separate from him right now, she would basically be admitting she was experiencing this strange feeling.
Li Qingshan smiled at her futile attempt to cover up how she felt and set off again. He could not help but admit that holding her in his arms truly was a nice feeling. He teased her again in a very irritating way. “You better not blame me if I flatten them!”
It made Hua Chenglu, who was already embarrassed out of her mind, a little crazy. Didn’t you say a friend’s sister is off limits? All men are damn sex fiends! None of them are up to any good! Even if you flatten them, it’s none of your business!
She stared at Li Qingshan while gritting her teeth, like a cat with its hair standing on end, which made Li Qingshan laugh aloud. As he killed along the way, he was truly invincible, taking down the insects wherever he passed by.
There were only seven that had reached Daemon General, as well as a few hundred regular daemons. There were even more daemonic beasts that were weaker, basically in the thousands.
Li Qingshan did not stop at all, but it still took him seventeen or eighteen hours before he froze all the burrowing mites and stuffed them into his bug pouch. He checked the time, and the twenty-four hours were almost up, or a whole day in other words. The battlefield would vanish very soon.
He had benefited quite a lot with this trip, and he had fulfilled his original objective. Although he did not stop for a single moment, he primarily used up his mental energy and the energy in the Traitorous Demon sword’s demon heart. His spiritual qi had been slowly recovering the entire time, and his dantian was already full now.
The sword qi of the incomplete sword had become even stronger, having absorbed a total of seventy percent of his spiritual qi. However, after passing fifty percent, its absorption rate slowed down the more it absorbed. It would probably take him more than a few days to nurture the sword qi with all the spiritual qi he had.
And, he had only achieved this in the great banyan tree, where spiritual qi was denser than any place of cultivation. It was no wonder that there were a total of seven burrowing mites that managed to reach Daemon General despite being carapaced daemons that cultivated slowly. Seventy percent was enough to kill people anyway, so there was no need for him to seek perfection.
Li Qingshan stopped and folded his hands.”Fellow, it’s about time. I’m going to be leaving soon!”
Then, Li Qingshan said to Hua Chenglu in his arms, “Chenglu, just stay here for a while. I’ll go lead those people to another battlefield! They’ve guarded this place for such a long time, so there probably aren’t any other cultivators left in this battlefield. When you get transported, you’ll probably be alone, so there shouldn’t be much danger. However, you still have to be prepared. Don’t hold back with your talismans.”
Hua Chenglu only returned to her senses after being momentarily lost, answering him but still clinging firmly to his waist. She had spent almost an entire day in this posture, hanging off him like a koala and accompanying him in his battles throughout the banyan tree.
She did not find it boring at all. As a matter of fact, she did not even notice the passage of time. Between the battles, Li Qingshan would tease her from time to time, while she gradually became accustomed to her position, no longer feeling so nervous and bashful anymore. She recovered some of her usual cleverness and fought back without backing down, leaving Li Qingshan stumped many times.
However, there was one time when she was a little vicious, and Li Qingshan casually smacked her across her perky bottom. This was an unconscious habit he had developed during the time he spent with Han Qiongzhi, Lolth, Ye Liubo, and his other women. Afterwards, he felt like he had gone a little too far. They embraced each other firmly only because of the circumstances, while the small talk and teasing was all joking around. However, he was definitely acting indecently with that smack.
He apologised in a hurry. Hua Chenglu clutched her bottom as if a bolt had struck her out of the blue. Then she completely flew into a rage. She threw a fuss about how she wanted to get off him immediately. Li Qingshan was in the wrong, but how could he let go of her at a time like this? His repeated apologies were useless, so he simply stopped talking. It was not like he could take the smack back.
It was also at this moment that his clone arrived in the commandery city. As he gazed at the battle in the sky, Li Qingshan was shocked inside. Si Qing was taking on so many Golden Core cultivators alone without losing the upper hand. He truly deserved his title of the eleventh prince. As a result, he devoted all of his attention to his clone, studying and observing the techniques and abilities his great enemy used attentively.
Hua Chenglu also fumed silently, no longer hugging him. She only allowed him to hold her like a large child. This lasted for over an hour before she finally wrapped her arms around him again, pressing her face against his chest.
By now, the dust from the great battle finally settled. Li Qingshan returned to his main body and discovered that her anger had dissipated. Right when he was about to say something to relieve the atmosphere, Hua Chenglu let out a gentle sigh and said first.
“Big brother Li, I know you didn’t do it on purpose. You’ve helped me and saved me again and again, so I shouldn’t be so stubborn. But you already have big sister Han, yet you still provoke me like this. I can’t help but get angry. My cultivation might be very low, but I’m not a woman that anyone can flirt around with.”
If I weren’t engaged to Qiongzhi already, would she be a little less angry? Heh, I better stop getting ahead of myself! Li Qingshan thought. He smiled. “As long as you’re not angry anymore. As they say, elder brothers are like fathers. You can treat me as teaching you a lesson in your father’s place.”
“Even my father has never hit me, and you were clearly in the wrong, so what gives you the right to teach me a lesson!?” Hua Chenglu fumed. You were clearly in the wrong. I’ve gone so far to forgive you, yet you still act like you have reason on your side?
“At worst, you can just hit me back. Women sure are petty.”
“Bah! Who wants to hit you back? It’s not like I’m your mother!” Hua Chenglu was unable to hold back her smile. Sigh, why do I cultivate so slowly? Back then, he was clearly around the same as me, and I’m much younger than him too!
This clever, beautiful, and endowed daughter of an aristocratic family had always been someone that everyone admired, yet when she spent time with Li Qingshan, she felt a little inferior inside. The cultivation community was one that revered the strong. Cultivation was the most important standard of evaluation, or even the only standard of evaluation most of the time.
In order to prompt their disciples and descendants to work hard on cultivation, clans and sects would even establish this notion firmly within their minds. Starting with Qi Practitioners, they had to call those a layer higher senior brother or sister, bowing when they saw them, let alone a talented, peak Foundation Establishment genius like Li Qingshan. He was someone who was enveloped in an invisible halo. Hua Chenglu was deeply affected by this mentality, which also made her even more afraid to take Li Qingshan lightly.
After going through this incident, Li Qingshan no longer dared to talk and act so recklessly anymore. He would definitely think before he spoke. He had always been someone who did whatever he wanted. If there were flowers to be plucked, then have them plucked. If the Ye Liubo and Ye Liusu sisters truly wanted to do it with him, he probably would not turn them down.
However, he would not go out of his way and intentionally chase after women either. Hua Chenglu was an absolute beauty, one that could interest all men, but in terms of enchantment and appeal, she was nowhere close to great sect master Qiu. Even with Qiu Haitang, he did not look back and long for her after helping her settle down, all because his greatest pursuit was not about love.
There had only ever been one woman who gave him an urge like that, but she had dumped a bucket of cold water over him, making him completely give up on that thought.
Hua Chenglu noticed the difference in his tone and was slightly touched. As it seems, he really does care about my feelings.
Li Qingshan casually asked her about some things regarding the Hawkwolf Guard and Hua Chengzan. Hua Chenglu answered them one by one before asking him a few things too. However, their lives were far too distant from each other, and their thought processes were worlds apart, so there was not much they could talk about.
Li Qingshan was not an eloquent person who knew how to please women, only somewhat capable of making some snide remarks and joking around indecently. As a result, they could not go too deeply into each topic, and the atmosphere was not as lively as before.
He could not be bothered with finding things to talk about either, devoting a little more attention to his clone so that he could observe what was happening outside. He wanted to see whether he had an opportunity to steal the Dragon Arena and drive A’qing mad with anger. Just the thought of Si Qing’s expression after losing the Dragon Arena left him utterly delighted.
Seeing how Li Qingshan had suddenly fallen silent and sunken into his thoughts, sniggering to himself, Hua Chenglu asked, “Big brother Li, what are you laughing about?”
“Ah, nothing!” Li Qingshan was caught off-guard. Of course, he could not say he was looking for a way to piss off his highness Si Qing.
Hua Chenglu felt like their relationship seemed to have become much more distant, which made her a little sad again.
“You’re brushing me aside!”
Li Qingshan smiled. “How could I? I’m afraid I’ll make you mad if I talk.”
Hua Chenglu said, “Am I really that irritable?”
“Then you better guarantee you won’t get mad again if I talk!”
“I can’t guarantee that!”
“Then how can I speak carelessly and offend great young miss Hua?”
“Stop trying to patronize me! As long as you don’t grope around, I’m not that petty of a person.”
Li Qingshan sniggered. “It was quite a nice sensation. I wonder who will be fortunate enough in the future.”
As it turned out, he was recalling the feeling of her bottom earlier when he sank into his thoughts, while his laughter was a naked laugh of perversion. Hua Chenglu ground her teeth. “Anyone but you!” Her grumbling voice and Li Qingshan’s laughter echoed through the deep, dark caves.
By the time Hua Chenglu returned to her senses, the journey had already come to an end. She was unable to describe whether it was long or short, just that she had never spent such a long time together with a man before in her life, let alone with such close contact. They were so close that they seemed to become joined. Separating now actually made her feel lost.
As she listened to him, all she could think about was whether he would be in any danger alone, and she could not help but think of the worst-case scenario. If he accidentally slipped up, what if he were killed? Afterwards, she began to panic over her own imagination, so she asked loudly.
“Senior tree king, my big brother Li has helped you clear so many insects. Now that he’s in danger, how can you just turn a blind eye to it?”
The Great Banyan Tree King’s ancient voice boomed out, “Don’t fret. Li Qingshan, you agreed to do three things for me. You’ve only done one right now, and you plan on leaving already?”
Li QIngshan said, “It’s not that I can’t stand by my word. It’s just that time isn’t permitting. Even if I don’t leave right now, I’ll be forcefully transported to another battlefield a little later, and I’ll be in trouble by then.”
“That kid Si Qing might be the owner of the Dragon Arena, but he doesn’t have power over everything in this Dragon Arena. If you want to stay behind, you can obviously stay behind.”
Li Qingshan’s eyes lit up. Although he was only “a hair”, a king was still a king. As a result, he began laughing. “Really? Why do I feel like Si Qing has opened his door to trouble by moving you in here, senior? Though, I really do want to kill them all!”
“I might as well tell you a little. Si Qing has specially asked me for the gift I’m going to give you, but I never agreed to it!”
“Alright, I’m tempted.” Li Qingshan understood that some precious things could not be exchanged for no matter how many spiritual stones were offered. “Chenglu, what do you think?”
Hua Chenglu nodded firmly. The journey had yet to end…