Even if mortal women were born beautiful, they would possess many flaws if they could not cultivate, and their beauty would rapidly fade away with age. The cultivation methods that these women practised had been specially prepared by the marquis’ estate. It only focused on retaining their beauty, elevating their beauty and charm, as well as some techniques for serving men.
However, this was not like what Li Qingshan thought, just for fulfilling momentary lust. Instead, it was also for creating descendants. The children between cultivators would basically all possess the talent to cultivate. As such, larger aristocratic clans would all make these preparations to preserve the bloodline of their clan. The concubines that the Han family had arranged Han Tieyi to take on were mostly women like this.
And, for the women, this was an opportunity to change their fate and become cultivators. Even if they would be cultivators of the lowest level, they would still possess healthier bodies, longer life spans, and more beautiful appearances than mortals. They would be able to enjoy a lavish lifestyle that mortals could not imagine, and once they produced a talented child, the rest of their life would basically be guaranteed.
Caretaker Zheng took Northmoon on a tour through the palace first. The decorations in the palace were extremely beautiful. It had all the facilities a person could ever need. It even had a special cellar that stored several hundred jars of fine alcohol.
Then they arrived behind the palace, only to see white steam permeating the air. It was an open-air hot spring. The sides of the pool were made from softer, white jade, while the surrounding walls depicted images of enchanting women. These women were all scantily dressed, graceful and casting out gentle glances. Within the steam, they seemed like a dream, like they were alive. This was obviously the handiwork of the school of Painting. The female attendants all arrived by the pool, making the dream into a reality.
Caretaker Zheng smiled. “Fellow Northmoon, these are all his highness’ kind intentions, so please enjoy yourself. I’ll be taking my leave first.”
Northmoon smiled, taking off all of his clothes and leaping into the pool, immediately crossing his legs and entering a meditative state. He made the women look at one another, at a loss as for what to do.
Si Qing heard caretaker Zheng’s report and slammed his table heavily before letting out a long sigh. “Sure enough, this wretched daemon can’t be swayed by fine alcohol and fine women considering how quickly he’s risen up.”
“Little strokes fell great oaks. Constant effort brings success. There’s no rush.” Jia Zhen swung his feather fan.
“There’s no rush? I think he was clearly using his clone today to mess with me. Am I supposed to continue putting up with him?”
“But this doesn’t mean he’s not showing goodwill and probing us. As time goes on, he’ll end up lowering his guard sooner or later. Our priority right now is still to refine the Asura Field.”
“Yes. As long as we refine the Asura Field and find the location of his original body, I’d like to see if he can still escape from the palm of our hands!” Si Qing opened his fingers before clenching his hand violently.
Actually, Si Qing had overestimated what Northmoon, or in other words, what Li Qingshan was thinking. He was not the kind of hopeless romantic who would only cling to one good thing in life. Most of the time, he would just eat if there was to eat and drink if there was to drink. He would not hold back. Normally, he would kindly accept all of these “gifts”, but Han Qiongzhi was beside him right now. If he were to use his clone to fool around even now, even he would not be able to forgive himself.
The competition between the schools of Miscellany would continue for a few more days. Some cultivators searched for what they wanted tirelessly, but there were other cultivators who returned to their arranged residences. With the vast size of the marquis’ estate, accommodating these cultivators posed no issue at all.
It gradually grew later into the night. After an entanglement, the two of them went to sleep together. Li Qingshan opened his eyes and slowly drew his hand out from under Han Qiongzhi. He knew he could not fool the person beside him with these actions, so he leaned over and kissed her gently on the cheek, saying softly, “I’ll be right back!”
Afterwards, Li Qingshan erased his presence and hid his figure, melding into the night. Han Qiongzhi opened her eyes and held back the urge to follow along and see what he was doing. Qingshan, just what is your secret?
Li Qingshan wrinkled his nose. Among the many, complicated smells, he found the one he was looking for, the smell of the cultivator in grey who wanted to buy his pieces of the Cursive Sword Calligraphy. Afterwards, he followed the invisible track and stalked after him.
He was not petty enough to hold onto a grudge and search for revenge over a slight offence. Instead, the incident today made him think of a minor matter from a few years ago. Under Green Vine mountain, he had obtained a piece of the Cursive Sword Calligraphy, and a masked man in black pursued him, wanting to kill him.
Were the two connected in some way?
Many guards of the estate and Hawkwolf guards patrolled the area, sparing no corner. There were also numerous warning formations operating in secret, maintaining a heavily-guarded interior.
Li Qingshan moved between the building like there was no one around.
The Invisibility technique was the signature water element technique. With Li Qingshan’s current cultivation and talent, he could achieve exceptional effects with it. Even without objects like a Glazed Mirror of Invisibility or the Illusory Water Sword of Invisibility, he could still fool regular Foundation Establishment cultivators.
And, it was no problem at all for him to use the senses of the spirit turtle to avoid the warning formations. He arrived before a tall building. The smell vanished into a room on the fifth floor. Li Qingshan arrived silently and listened carefully, but he heard nothing at all. He could not sense any auras either. Clearly, they had set up a formation that isolated them from the outside world.
Li Qingshan pursed his lips and gathered his soul sense, condensing it into a point and penetrating the formation silently like piercing a needle through window paper. He could now clearly hear the voices of people, and there was more than a single person.
This feat seemed easy, but it required an extremely powerful soul sense to achieve. He practised the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, so the powerful wills of the ox demon, tiger demon, spirit turtle, and phoenix filled his sea of consciousness, constantly colliding and clashing together, fire against water, divine against demonic. It tempered his soul sense and made it extremely powerful, such that even the soul sense of regular Golden Core cultivators paled in comparison.
There were a total of seven people in the room. Apart from a Foundation Establishment cultivator, the rest were Qi Practitioners. None of them were dressed in anything special, making it impossible to tell whether they came from any schools or sects. It was like they were intentionally trying to be discreet.
The cultivator in grey knelt on the ground and pleaded with the Foundation Establishment cultivator. “Sir, he turned me down flatly. There was nothing I could do!”
“Hmph, Li Qingshan. He truly is as unruly as the rumors suggest. He really knows how to push his luck!” The Foundation Establishment was a stern old man who turned around furiously.
Li Qingshan thought, Why don’t you check yourself in the mirror and take a good look at yourself? You’re ancient, and you’re only at mid Foundation Establishment. Let alone Golden Core, you don’t even have much of a hope at reaching late Foundation Establishment. Though, just what is this bastard relying on for his self-confidence to become so swollen?
The stern old man paced around with his hands behind his back. “Niu Juxia seems to have vanished into thin air. Even the two pieces of the Three Absolutes Calligraphy in his possession have gone missing. We have to obtain the two pieces in Li Qingshan’s possession. Only then can we report back to that sir. You’ve failed to complete your mission, so punishment is unavoidable!”
Li Qingshan shuddered inside. Sure enough, these guys are connected to it! They seem to be serving a figure that’s even more powerful. The so-called Three Absolutes Calligraphy they’re collecting is the Cursive Sword Calligraphy. Not only is that person tremendously wealthy, but he’s quite strong too, which is why these guys are so arrogant under his protection.
Who knows how many fragments the Three Absolutes Calligraphy have been split into. They can’t be collected by Qi Practitioners. Probably even Foundation Establishment cultivators aren’t capable of something like that. The “sir” they speak of might be one of the Golden Core cultivators I saw today on the Soaring Clouds terrace. However, Li Qingshan felt rather confused. They’re only collecting a few spiritual artifacts, so why do they have to be so secretive? Oh, it’s probably because they’re afraid of inflating the price, which would make everything more difficult!
The cultivator in grey showed fear. “Hold on. Sir, I discovered something strange today!”
“What is it?”
“On the arcane artifact Three Absolutes Calligraphy in Li Qingshan’s possession, I found some of the strokes extremely familiar. They’re extremely similar to the one junior brother Liu lost when Niu Juxia killed him.”
“Are you certain?” The stern man’s face stiffened. Every single Three Absolutes Calligraphy seemed basically the same in the eyes of a layman, all just strokes of ink, but there were actually many differences between each piece. They had been dealing with them for all this time, so they were able to distinguish between them.
A Qi Practitioner on the side added, “It is strange now that you mention it. Basically all the fragments of the Three Absolutes Calligraphy are spiritual artifacts, so why would an arcane artifact appear out of nowhere?”
“Don’t tell me Niu Juxia is connected to Li Qingshan somehow?”
The stern old man pondered for a while. “I will report this to the sir and ask him to take action personally. I refuse to believe we can’t handle a measly Li Qingshan!” A sinister smile appeared on his face. “Since you won’t give us what we want, then you better not blame us for bringing your path as a genius to an end!”
The other Qi Practitioners laughed too. They were all independent cultivators. Their talent was not particularly outstanding and no sects wanted them, which was why they had been gathered to serve the old man. They instinctively envied and hated geniuses.
“Then come at me!” A voice suddenly rang out by their ears at the same time. The doors swung open before slamming shut immediately, but they saw no one. Only a breeze swept through the room as if the wind had blown open the door.
All of the stern old man’s hairs stood on end. He experienced life-threatening danger and pulled back in retreat. Right when he wanted to activate the defensive arcane artifact on him, he discovered he remained exactly where he was before quickly falling towards the ground. He widened his eyes in disbelief, only having just noticed the pain from his neck.
Before he knew it, he had already been beheaded. His body had stumbled back, but his head remained in the air. As for the Qi Practitioners, they all froze up on the spot. Some of them were even at a loss, having no idea what had happened.
Li Qingshan used one of his innate abilities, the Tiger Demon’s Breath. He truly did not have to put in much effort at all against a Foundation Establishment cultivator and a group of Qi Practitioners. He only needed to exhale. This was the marquis’ estate after all. If he made too great of a disturbance and gave Si Qing and the others a reason to persecute him, then that would be bad. As a result, he killed them in a single strike.
Before their heads had even struck the ground, they became wrapped up in a gust of wind. Even their corpses were sent into Li Qingshan’s hundred treasures pouch. After confirming that he had not left behind even a hint of the smell of blood, Li Qingshan took the seven hundred treasures pouches and left the room silently.
After looking through the hundred treasures pouches with his soul sense, Li Qingshan could not help but sigh emotionally. “There really are different ways out when you think you’ve hit a dead end. You sure can get some unexpected results from pure accidents!”