Chapter 69 – A First-Rate Master
Originally, Liu Hong was still very reluctant to accept his defeat to Li Qingshan. He felt that Li Qingshan was harassing him because he did not use a weapon. Liu Hong knew how to use the blade too. Only when Li Qingshan destroyed the Black Wind stronghold alone did he truly accept his defeat, but he only treated Li Qingshan as someone talented and slightly better than himself. After all, Li Qingshan did receive help from another master.
But now, he had a feeling that as long as Li Qingshan wanted to, he could take his life in a single move. Let alone fighting back, Liu Hong would not even have the opportunity to flee. This was the instincts of an experienced member of the jianghu. It had helped him avoid danger many times, and it would not be wrong.
Did he become a first-rate master already!? That’s impossible. It has only been a day. However, he could not deny the reality presented before him. He wondered whether reporting the matter of the spiritual ginseng to the main branch of the Iron Fist sect in the Clear River prefecture was the correct decision or not. The main branch leader would definitely send people over. Everyone knew the value of a spiritual ginseng.
However, even if he did not do that, the news would spread to the Clear River prefecture very soon under Yang Anzhi’s attempts of dissemination. The people of jianghu would gather here very soon.
Li Long had also attended the celebration banquet. Looking at the teenager who had emerged from the same Crouching Ox village as him being daring and filled with energy, respected by all of these aristocrats, even he himself was unable to describe whether he was feeling admiration or envy. His emotions had become a complete mess.
However, he could closely sense the changes to Liu Hong’s expression, so he asked, “Master, are you alright?”
Li Qingshan heard this as well, so he toasted, “Old hero Liu, I’ve left in too much of a hurry earlier, so I’ve destroyed the drinking mood. Please accept this toast as an apology.”
Liu Hong stood up in a hurry. “Sigh, Qingshan, are you ridiculing me? What hero? Only the old part is true. The jianghu belongs to you youngsters. Xiao Long, get up, quick. You two share the same hometown, so you should drink more with each other. I’ll have to trouble Qingshan with my disciple in the future. Please take good care of him.”
Everyone’s expressions became strange. The Iron Fist school was widespread across the entire Clear River prefecture. They were truly a large organisation, yet he wanted an outsider to take care of his own disciple.
Li Qingshan was surprised as well. He smiled. “Sure!” and drank all of his alcohol. It was clearly an extremely ordinary decision, yet it made people cheer loudly.
Li Qingshan coped with the situation, and his stomach grumbled. Many people smiled before quickly hiding their smiles again.
Ye Dachuan said, “Quick, sit down and eat something. And you go, get the kitchen to send up more alcohol and dishes.” His liking of Li Qingshan grew the more he looked at him. As long as this ‘sheriff Li’ remained, he could easily suppress both sides of the jianghu in Qingyang city, allowing him to live up to his reputation as the district magistrate. And, apart from Li Qingshan’s strength and magnanimity, he had courtesy and knew when he could do what. He was not like those arrogant teenagers who cared for nobody else. Sometimes, he was so knowledgeable that he did not seem like a youth at all.
Li Qingshan had no idea what Ye Dachuan was thinking. Right now, all he could see was the table full of alcohol and dishes. He truly cared for nobody else. At the start, he maintained his basic dining etiquette, but after eating a few mouthfuls, he could no longer care that much. He just spread his cheeks and began munching. He truly wolfed it down.
With a stroke of his chopsticks, a dish would become empty. This was also due to his ingenious use of his martial arts. Ordinary people could not achieve that. At the same time, he ate with great meticulousness. He would chew and grind any food that ended up in his mouth to pieces. He was even more effective than people who chewed their food carefully and swallowed slowly.
In a single bite, almost half of a roast chicken vanished. He did not even spit out the bones, grinding them up and swallowing them with everything else. In just a short while, an entire roast chicken was gone.
Everyone watched on dumbfoundedly. They had never seen someone eat like that in their lives.
Before long, Li Qingshan had finished half the table of dishes and alcohol, but he did not feel full at all. His stomach was like a bottomless furnace, digesting and absorbing the food rapidly and converting it to energy before delivering it to the various parts of his body.
A series of cheers even gradually arose in the restaurant. “Young hero Li sure is valiant!” “What young hero? It’s sheriff. With a hero like sheriff Li protecting us, do we still have to be afraid of any bandits or criminals?”
A single person ate while a group of people watched and cheered him on. Even Li Qingshan himself found this to be rather strange. He knew his table manners were nowhere close to being any good. Before these aristocrats, who lived lavishly and emphasised on appearance, he could definitely be labelled as a ‘country bumpkin’ or a ‘starving ghost’.
However, most of these praises were actually sincere. If an ordinary person had eaten so much, they would have been drowned out by gazes of scorn a long time ago, but Li Qingshan was no ordinary person. Instead, he was someone powerful who had rampaged through two major organisations of Qingyang. Everyone’s evaluation of him immediately underwent a one-eighty, describing him as magnanimous and domineering.
Li Qingshan stuffed himself as the alcohol and dishes were delivered in a constant stream. Only after three tables of food did he finally stop.
It was late, so everyone dispersed. There were people who automatically arranged a dwelling for him. He had been allocated quite a large courtyard within Qingyang city.
Even he himself had no idea how much alcohol he had drunk. With his body size and alcohol tolerance, he felt rather drunk. As soon as he returned to his courtyard, he collapsed on the bed and mumbled, “Xiao An.” before falling asleep. He slept extremely soundly. If it were not for Xiao An’s presence, he would have never been bold enough to drink and sleep so freely. He would be forced to be on his guard constantly.
This was the terrifying aspect after becoming a target for everyone. If this continued for long periods of times, no matter how great your martial arts were, your mind would deteriorate and become exhausted, making it even more impossible to practise abilities or martial arts.
Xiao An carefully took off his shoes and clothes, placing him in bed and covering him with a blanket as if it were a holy procedure. After, he held onto his sword as he sat by the bedside like a guard. Perhaps Li Qingshan’s actions that night managed to scare away a lot of people, or perhaps there were still gazes observing in the darkness, but Li Qingshan slept soundly that night. Not a single tactless person disturbed him.
He slept all the way until late morning. Only then did he truly recover from his exhaustion from constant battling and slaughter. He sat on his bed in a daze for a while, thinking back to the dream he had that night. It was no longer a dream that reminisced his past life, but a new dream. As for the details? He could not recall any of it.
As he sat there in a daze, Xiao An placed a pan of water before him. Li Qingshan thanked him before lowering his head and looking in the pan, “Hmm? I seem to have gotten skinnier!” Touching his face, he had indeed grown skinnier. He had been eating constantly in the mountains, and after achieving the strength of an ox, his body had become visibly sturdy. His face had filled up as well, no longer as thin as before. He had been brimming with energy and was as fit as an ox.
Was it because I exhausted myself too much over the past two days? He muttered to himself inside. He plunged his head into the water and drew it out again, and his mind immediately cleared up. “Let’s go, it’s time to train!”
The courtyard’s location was rather remote, so it was very quiet. And, it was expansive as well, so it was suitable for practising martial arts. It suited Li Qingshan’s tastes very much. When he walked out from the building, he discovered that the snow had already stopped at a certain time while he slept. The winter sunlight landed on the snowy ground, shining brightly.
Li Qingshan arrived beneath the sun after treading through the snow and yawned. All he saw when he looked back was Xiao An remaining within the shadows, afraid to take a step out of the door.
Li Qingshan smiled and extended his hand. “Come!”