Chapter 79 – Gu Yanying
Li Qingshan said, “I’m Li Qingshan. May I ask for your name, big sis?” Originally, he wanted to call her young miss, but while she was noble, she was unlike the young misses of large clans who had secluded childhoods. As a result, he wanted to call her lady, but while she was young, it did not match her, or he should say that they were unworthy of her.
Perhaps fairy was the best choice. Although he felt nothing towards this word before, he just felt like he was lowering himself somehow if he called her that. In the end, he could only unawkwardly refer to her as ‘big sis’, just like Xu Xian who met the White Maiden on the West Lake.1
Hua Chengzan really did find Li Qingshan to be rather admirable. For him back then, he could not even string out a proper sentence after seeing her. This kid from the mountains really did have quite the courage.
“I’m Gu Yanying. Do you know why I’ve called you here, little bro Qingshan?” Gu Yangying gently swung the delicate, jade folding fan in her hands. She smiled in a rather joking manner, but her gaze was distant.
Little bro Qingshan!? Li Qingshan would much rather be called the Descended Tiger by the people of the jianghu for the rest of his life than that. However, after thinking about it, he was only fifteen or sixteen years old. In her eyes, perhaps he really was like a little brother.
The sorrow in the depths of Hua Chengzan’s eyes grew heavier.
Wang Pushi frowned deeply. Li Qingshan was in no way worthy of being called little bro by her, but he knew she was unrestrained and willing to go along with many things, so he could not say anything. Upon further thought, if she were not like that, he would have no right to sit at the same table as her.
Li Qingshan thought about what he possessed that other people knew about and that he was able to part with. There was only the spiritual ginseng. “Have you come for the spiritual ginseng as well?” If that were the case, he could only hand over the spiritual ginseng, not because he had been charmed, but because his strength was insufficient. Although he felt love, he was not blinded by it. He would not easily throw aside his morales and dignity because of it. If Gu Yanying really had come for the spiritual ginseng, his impression of her would plummet significantly.
Wang Pushi broke into laughter, while Hua Chengzan had already collapsed from laughing.
Gu Yanying found it both vexing and amusing. She curled her lips. “Who would want something that your saliva has already gotten all over?!” In the eyes of these first-rate masters of the jianghu, the spiritual ginseng was a treasure worth just as much as their lives, yet in her eyes, it was just something coated in saliva.
“The wine is ready!” Wang Pushi had been keeping an eye on the time. He placed the tripod on the table, and the moment he lifted the lid, Li Qingshan saw streaks of light emerge from the cracks, just like in a certain animated show he had seen in his previous life.
The heavy fragrance of alcohol permeated the air, and the surrounding snow rapidly melted and receded. The pine tree next to them clearly stretched out as that happened, becoming even more verdant.
Li Qingshan sniffed the fragrance, and he felt all of his muscles and bones lighten slightly. The true qi in his body immediately became lively as well. He could imagine what would happen if he drank the wine. The alcohol would be countless times better than the spiritual alcohol that he had simply steeped with the spiritual ginseng.
Li Qingshan’s face reddened. He really felt like an ignorant villager right now, guarding his chunk of preserved meat and treating it like the greatest delicacy in the world. He was utterly embarrassed, so embarrassed that he wanted to vanish on the spot. As a matter of fact, he even wished that they had come for the spiritual ginseng instead now.
Gu Yanying sniffed gently and smiled. “Hundred-year Bodhi Brew! You’re far too kind, old Wang!”
Wang Pushi said, “I know you like drinking, commander, so I managed to get my hands on some from old brother Tian. Out of the hundred schools of thought, the agricultural school is still the best at making alcohol.” Afterwards, he personally poured the wine into a jug and glared at Hua Chengzan. “Why aren’t you pouring the wine?”
Hua Chengzan stood up and filled up two cups. Wang Pushi said, “And yourself?” Only then did Hua Chengzan giggle, pouring himself a cup as well.
Gu Yanyin smiled. “Fate has brought us together! Little bro Qingshan, you should taste some too!” However, she ignored Feng Zhang on the side.
Feng Zhang’s ears perked up. Sniffing the fragrance, his heart felt like it was on fire. If the spiritual ginseng was not particularly tempting to him, then the Bodhi Brew would be enough for him to lose his life over for.
Just one cup! One cup, and he would be able to break through the second layer and become a third layer Qi Practitioner. However, no one mentioned him. He was afraid of blaming Gu Yanying and the other two, so he could only grind his teeth at Li Qingshan.
Li Qingshan lowered his head silently, but Hua Chengzan had already poured a cup, shoving it into his hand forcefully. “Come, come, come. Let’s just say you’re lucky. Even I can’t normally drink something as good as this.”
Li QIngshan lowered his head and looked at the golden-yellow alcohol in the cup. He knew that if he tried to turn it down now, he would just appear to treat himself with far too much humility. As a result, he tilted his head backwards and drank all of the alcohol in the cup.
“Oi!” Hua Chengzan wanted to stop him, but it was already too late, while Wang Pushi had never looked at Li Qingshan properly the entire time. He only just wondered why Gu Yanying had called him over and had given him the precious Bodhi Brew to drink.
Gu Yanying showed no intention of stopping him. Instead, she just smiled like she was watching a show.
Before Li Qingshan could even taste the wine properly, a ball of hot spiritual qi exploded in his body, rampaging through him. His spiritual qi failed to stop it at all.
Oh no. The wine contained spiritual qi, and it was far more than he had imagined it to be. The glow and fragrance only divulged the very surface of the drink.
Feng Zhang was delighted inside. Bumpkin! The Bodhi Brew was supposed to be tasted and ingested slowly. If it were drunk too quickly, the powerful spiritual qi would destroy the dantian and meridians like a flood breaching through a dam.
However, Li Qingshan did not explode, as he had never developed any meridians or a dantian. His entire body shone as he mobilised all of his true qi to devour and convert the spiritual qi, while his body absorbed the spiritual qi like a sponge, gradually making the violent spiritual qi settle down.
Gu Yanying stared at Li Qingshan. Her eyes were just like a hawk’s as she quickly played around with a bronze coin with the tip of her fingers on her left hand. As her gaze focused on him, Li Qingshan experienced a chilling feeling where even his soul had been seen through.
A while later, Li Qingshan completely digested the spiritual qi in him, and Gu Yanying’s gaze parted from him, looking away as if she were thinking of something.
Hua Chengzan let out a sigh of relief. As it seemed, training the body was not completely useless.
Wang Pushi instead found this rather strange. The spiritual qi within the Bodhi Brew was so powerful that it would not even be strange if it directly elevated someone to a third layer Qi Practitioner, but Li Qingshan showed no signs of breaking through. He remained at the first layer, but his true qi became much more powerful.
If it were not for the fact that he had drunk a cup as well, he would have doubted the Bodhi Brew to be fake or having not reached maturity.
Li Qingshan exhaled and clasped his hands towards the three people. “Many thanks!” He had never thought that not only would he keep the spiritual ginseng, but he would even get a cup of wine to drink as well. However, he felt somewhat uneasy for some reason.
“What do you think? Do you still think I’ve come for your spiritual ginseng? Little bro Qingshan?” Gu Yanying purposefully touched on a soft spot in a mocking manner. Li Qingshan was so young, yet he acted so solemnly. He was very amusing. Li Qingshan said with his chest held high. “I’m just a kid from a mountain village, so it’s not like I can avoid being ignorant. However, I don’t understand that since your sirs from the Hawkwolf Guard are so impressive, why has the Black Wind Stronghold pillaged and plundered freely for all these years, without anyone to deal with them?” He seemed to be questioning them, saying that they enjoyed all their benefits while they neglected their work.
1. A reference to Legend of the White Snake, one of the four great Chinese folktales, which the author’s previous book was based off as well.