Chapter 80 – A Frog in a Well
Wang Pushi’s expression was rather ugly. Qingyang also fell under his region of control, but how was he supposed to know what the Black Wind stronghold was?
Hua Chengzan said after thinking about it. “I think this place is on our list, but it’s just far too low. We haven’t had the time to handle it in all these years.”
Only in the distant future would Li Qingshan find out that the entire Hawkwolf Guard would possess a list, ranking people according to their strength, their crimes, their influence, and the benefits from their deaths. The Hawkwolf Guard would send powerful people to kill them one by one from the top to the bottom. This was the blacklist that the people of the jianghu feared deeply. If you could make it onto the blacklist, then it demonstrated you were powerful enough, but it also meant that you were close to dying. However, due to various figures constantly making it onto the list, a place like the Black Wind stronghold would basically never raise any attention.
“You talk too much,” Wang Pushi growled.
Feng Zhang saw how Li Qingshan had gotten on commander Wang’s bad side, so he thought the opportunity had presented itself. He mustered up his courage and said, “Commanders, this kid stole the spiritual ginseng and killed innocent people. He has slandered the might of our Hawkwolf Guard…”
“You’re lying to me?” Gu Yanying interrupted. She was not asking him, but exclaiming in surprise as if Feng Zhang had done something very unbelievable.
“No, I haven’t…” Feng Zhang wanted to quibble, but when Wang Pushi gazed over with a darkened expression, he immediately felt like he had been grabbed by the neck, unable to utter another word.
“Our Hawkwolf Guard may not be composed of kind-hearted people, but there’s no reason for us to stoop to such a low level, led around by the people of the jianghu and stringing up these lies.” Gu Yanying shook her head and no longer paid any more attention to Feng Zhang. Instead, she said to Wang Pushi, “Old Wang, have you brought a map?”
Feng Zhang’s expression basically seemed like he had been stabbed by a knife. He was sheet-white, without a shred of blood, as he sweated profusely. Anyone who had cultivated to his level would be able to control their own bodies, so his behaviour only demonstrated just how shaken up he was.
“I have!” Wang Pushi pulled out a large map from a pouch on his waist.
Li Qingshan’s eyes widened. A spatial pocket!
The thick map that was made from the leather of some animal was unfolded on the small table. Its surface shone as well, clearly not an ordinary map.
Gu Yanying said, “Inject spiritual qi into it and think of the two words, Qingyang city.”
Li Qingshan placed his hand on the map and thought of ‘Qingyang city’. An extremely dim speck of light lit up in a corner of the map, and he received a lot of information in his head, including the location, area, population, and so on of Qingyang city.
Gu Yangying said, “Now think of the Clear River Prefecture.”
With another thought, over a hundred specks of light lit up simultaneously. They were like a galaxy. Every single speck was a city, while Qingyang city’s speck was basically the dimmest out of all of them. The brightest speck in the centre was the Clear River city.
A hundred and seventeen cities spanning a region of one thousand five hundred kilometers across; this was the Clear River prefecture.
Li Qingshan already knew that this world was vast, but he never expected it to be so big. He had heard stories from the elders of the village in the past, but he only treated them as exaggerated tales. He never thought they would actually be true.
He suddenly understood why the prefect would just casually give Ye Dachuan the position of district magistrate despite his ignorance and incompetence, as a small city like this was absolutely insignificant compared to the entire prefecture. Meanwhile, the Black Wind stronghold was even more insignificant. Unless the Black Wind stronghold directly raised a flag and decided to revolt, any news about them would struggle to reach the Clear River city that was over a thousand kilometers away.
Not only was the government of this world powerful, but they were terrifyingly powerful. Only because the land was just too vast did they give the government official autonomy with their reign over their region. However, autonomy did not mean freedom.
Whether it be the Black Wind stronghold or the Drawn Reins village, no matter how great of a mess they created, they would only be doing it in a tiny region. If the mess was too great, they could just send a Hawkwolf guard or two to crush them to death. They would not be able to shake the foundations of the government at all. The government’s reign was basically more rigid than any other nation or empire he had known before.
“I watch over the Ruyi commandery, which contains nine prefectures. Half a year ago in the Yuecheng prefecture, the White Lotus cult sacrificed an entire city in order to refine an arcane treasure. That was around two hundred thousand people.” Gu Yanying tilted her head back and drank the cup of wine while Hua Chengzan filled it up again for her.
Two hundred thousand people! In Li Qingshan’s eyes, the Black Wind stronghold’s actions of slaughtering villages was already an act of evil, but who would have thought that there would be people thousands of times worse than that.
Li Qingshan instinctively searched for the Ruyi commandery on the map, and almost ten times as many specks lit up. However, from the map, the disappearance of a single speck only seemed like a small matter.
The Ruyi commandery spanned over ten thousand kilometers.
Although Li Qingshan did not have a particularly strong sense over geography, he still understood that this was larger than all of China from his previous life. At that moment, Gu Yanying was clearly right in front of him, yet she seemed to be up in the heavens, in a realm beyond his reach.
It was like a frog in a well, looking at the glory of a hawk in the sky. All it had was the strength to look up at it.
The hawk circled in the sky, searching for larger prey, so why would it look into the well and pay attention to the battle between a few critters? It had only stopped by the well today out of pure coincidence, spotting a special frog.
Wang Pushi asked carefully, “Commander, have you come this time for the sake of the White Lotus cult?”
The White Lotus Mother was a demonic cultivator at Golden Core. She was a terrifying figure he could not afford to provoke. Getting involved in a conflict like that would lead to nothing good. Commander Gu had led five encirclements against the White Lotus cult already. Although it would be a complete victory every time, just the number of White Wolf guards they lost would amount to over a dozen. With his strength as a Scarlet Hawk commander, he was only on par with White Wolf guards.
Gu Yanying smiled. “Then why would I come alone? The White Lotus Mother is injured and has already gone into hiding. I’ve only skimmed the surface of the Six Trigrams Divination, so I can’t find her. And, it’s not easy to kill Golden Core cultivators.” When she reached there, she looked at Li Qingshan again. She sighed inside about how her mastery over the Six Trigrams Divination really was insufficient. She could not even see through the person right in front of her.
Since it was not for the White Lotus cult, there really were not a lot of people within the Ruyi commandery that were enough for her to take action. Everyone looked over in confusion. Gu Yanying placed down the cup in her hand and paused slightly. She became pained. “It’s the Dark Queen. She has lost her cat. She wants me to find it.”
Looking for a cat! Li Qingshan was stunned. He had originally thought she had extremely important matters to attend to, looking to capture some terrifying figure. He had never expected that she would cross thousands of kilometers and come to the tiny city of Qingyang just to look for a cat.
Gu Yanying sighed. “I would rather go fight the White Lotus Mother.”
However, Wang Pushi and Hua Chengzan understood what ‘Dark Queen’ meant. They became extremely cautious, afraid to probe into the matter any further. This probably touched on the conflicts at the very top of the Green province. It was not something they could interfere with.
Gu Yanying continued to ramble, but her mouth remained busy between the words, downing cup after cup. When she reached there, the tripod of wine had already been emptied, and she developed a slight flush, just like a flower blooming in spring. She was utterly enchanting.
Gu Yanying suddenly stood up. “Alright, I’ve drunk it all, so I won’t say anything more.” She took out a bag from the jade ring on her hand and placed it on the table. “Take these spiritual stones as a token of my appreciation and cultivate well! Break through soon!”