The prefectural city of Clear River blazed with lanterns. It was already night, but people still flowed to and fro on the streets, bustling with a lively hubbub. The dazzling buildings and boisterous stages could not make the people stop and linger. It was like there was some great festival going on. However, today was not a festival at all.
Most of the common folk had no idea why they were celebrating. All they knew was the prefect had done something, and the entire prefectural city became lively. They had a vague inkling that it had something to do with the Scarlet Hawk commander, Li Qingshan.
However, the entire cultivation community of the Ruyi commandery had been shaken up. Li Qingshan’s name even resounded through the Green province, spreading far and wide to the other provinces.
The Parlour of Clouds and Rain was ablaze with lights. They currently carried out a grand banquet with streaks of light flying over constantly, being invited into the building. Only Foundation Establishment cultivators that had undergone the first heavenly tribulation had the right to set foot on the rooftop, and even when they spoke, they had to be careful.
To a corner of the rooftop, Gu Yanying was currently discussing something with Han Anjun. The always solemn Han Anjun smiled slightly as well. The Marquis of Ruyi listened along, and all of the people beside him were second heavenly tribulation Golden Core cultivators.
Although their numbers had lessened slightly due to the disaster that was the Exhibition Matches of the Nine Prefectures, and they all concealed their aura, the bearing they unconsciously gave off made everyone feel slightly pressured.
“He’s here!” Gu Yanying suddenly looked into the horizon.
Under the gazes of many, Li Qingshan descended from above with Han Qiongzhi.
Li Qingshan was dressed in convenient, navy robes, giving off a bearing as lofty as a mountain as he looked around complacently. Han Qiongzhi was dressed magnificently in a long, fiery-red dress. She was as bright and beautiful as fire, attractively outlining her figure. They were truly a perfect match for each other, like a match made in heaven.
Back then, there had even been people who were perplexed by why the noble daughter of the Han family would proactively chase after a kid from the country.
It was rumored that they encountered intense objection from Han Anjun and that she had virtually fallen out with the Han family over this. In the end, they settled down together without any formal recognition.
The cultivation community did not place as much emphasis on traditions and family background as mortals, but among the aristocratic clans of the Clear River prefecture and even the Ruyi commandery, they had basically become a laughing stock. They all said Han Qiongzhi had lost her mind to love. However, Han Qiongzhi had never cared about these rumors, while Li Qingshan had no time to pay any attention to them either.
Now, everyone admired Han Qiongzhi’s insight. An unparalleled prodigy like him was enough to revitalise an entire sect. Even creating an aristocratic clan on par with the Han family would be a piece of cake for him!
No matter how pessimistic Han Anjun was about this relationship, he could not help but nod at a time like this. From the perspective of a cultivator alone, he could not help but be filled with admiration over this.
He had admired Li Qingshan very much right from the beginning. The reason why he refused to accept him as his son-in-law was not because he found Li Qingshan’s status lowly as the rumors suggested. It was the exact opposite. He was worried his daughter could not rein in a man like that, and it really was the case. In his understanding, there was probably only Gu Yanying standing right beside him, holding a folding fan and smiling away, that could match him.
Fortunately, she abstained from matters between a man and woman, so it was impossible for her to have any interest in Li Qingshan, or his daughter really would be done for. Li Qingshan was not an irresponsible person either. By doing this, he was essentially declaring his relationship with Han Qiongzhi again.
Han Tieyi also felt happy for his elder sister. His brother-in-law often did whatever he pleased. He was probably the exact opposite of the term “infatuation”. At last, he had not let down his elder sister’s deep love.
“Speaking of which, you met commander Li first, my daughter. I think you even saved him back then!”
In the tiny garden on the rooftop, the patriarch of the Hua family said to Hua Chenglu. His voice was filled with pity.
Even after undergoing the Wisdom Imbuement and becoming much more mature, Hua Chenglu could not help but roll her eyes at her father. She raised her head and looked up again.
Back then, she was still a little girl. She was still ignorant about the matters between a man and woman. Thinking about it now, she did feel a tinge of regret. If she had struck first back then, with her charm and how lustful of a big brother he was, it would be impossible for him to turn her down! Sigh, everything is about striking first…
Suddenly, she shook her head. What am I thinking about? Big sister Han treats me like her own sister. How can I think about something so shameful!
She was not envious of the glory. She only wanted a perfectly-justifiable reason to remain by his side. Once she thought about it, she really struggled to forget about it. Female cultivators really did have the heaviest tribulations of attachments. Suddenly, she understood her elder brother a little. Since she had already fallen in love with this man, if she looked at other men now, what interest could they bring? She was better off just prioritising cultivation in that case.
Hua Chenglu sighed. Perhaps this is a good thing! At the very least, she was not as obstinate over the word “love” as Hua Chengzan.
Because of Gu Yanying, Hua Chengzan did not appear tonight. Even if he drank a thousand bottles of Water of Oblivion, he would still fall in love with her if he saw her again. This was something he understood himself.
The patriarch of the Hua family shook his head. The Han family has profited! However, he also understood that even if his daughter was willing back then, he might not necessarily give permission. His objections would definitely be even more intense than Han Anjun’s. Who would have thought that a kid from the country could actually reach this step in a little over a decade!
With various different thoughts, everyone cast various different gazes towards Li Qingshan. Li Qingshan remained calm, looking down and smiling.
This celebration was Liu Changqing’s suggestion. Originally, Li Qingshan might not have necessarily accepted this with the kind of person he was, but upon considering his plan, he still agreed to it in the end.
But since he was here, there was no need for him to focus on being discreet!
Tonight, he would make his name resound through the world and complete that wild wish of the mountain village youth of the past!
In that moment, Li Qingshan completely unleashed his aura. Demon qi surged and malice rushed into the air. The stars and moon paled!
Everyone felt a tremendous pressure drop down from above, filled with oppression and invasiveness. Even their breathing became a little difficult. If it were not for the fact that this power had spread out into the surroundings aimlessly, without a single person as a target, no one present could withstand it apart from the Golden Core cultivators.
However, these Golden Core cultivators felt even more shocked. Didn’t he just undergo the second heavenly tribulation? How is he so powerful!? If he really ends up fighting, there probably aren’t a lot of people present that are his opponent!
Yin Xiaochou stood with his sword on a tall building in the distance. He shut his eyes silently and sensed the aura. He sighed. “Is this the Demon Suppression Statuary? It really is powerful. No, it’s not just the cultivation method. It’s because of this person too. The Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga has produced such a genius. Among the younger generation of the Sword Collection palace, no one can compare to him apart from first senior brother! Fortunately, he’s not from the Umbral Yin sect, or he would definitely become a major problem.”
“Stop showing off! Hurry up and get down!” Han Qiongzhi silently pinched Li Qingshan. In front of so many gazes, she felt quite proud in the beginning, but as time went on, it felt uncomfortable.
“Aren’t I making you proud and building up your reputation?” Li Qingshan conveyed with a smile.
“Hmph, I think you’re just doing it for your own sake!” Han Qiongzhi said.
If he had just suddenly entered secluded cultivation for a few years, then so be it, but the first person he visited after emerging was actually Hua Chenglu. She only learnt he had emerged when someone else had contacted her.
Li Qingshan knew the reason for her anger. He had always followed his principle of “even a lion would use its full strength to catch a rabbit”. He passed the half of the Cursive Sword Calligraphy he had obtained from Mo Yu to Chu Danqing after refining it. Then he comprehended the sword intent inside. He spent the entirety of the past two days on this. His time was tight, so he had absolutely no time to go and find her.
Furious, Han Qiongzhi did not even spectate his battle with Yin Xiaochou. Of course, it was also because she knew he had already undergone the second heavenly tribulation, so there was absolutely no chance he could lose, let alone face any life-threatening danger.
Li Qingshan also understood he had been in the wrong. He coaxingly said, “Zhi’er, it’s my fault, so please stop being angry. I’ll definitely properly make it up to you tonight and relieve you of the pain from several years of longing!”
“Never! You can go amuse yourself with other women!”
Han Qiongzhi turned him down without batting an eyelid, but her heart softened. She was very curious just what she had to do to never forgive this brazen, unrestrainable man. As long as he said a few more sweet words, her anger would completely evaporate away.
“Are there any women that can compare to my Zhi’er?”
Li Qingshan smiled and landed on the Parlour of Clouds and Rain. He did not purposefully hold back, nor did he intentionally make a display. He clasped his hands around and said some formalities before taking his seat and toasting the Golden Core cultivators one by one.
The first one was obviously Han Anjun. His father-in-law had nothing to say, just downing the cup in one gulp.
Next was his superior, Gu Yanying. Gu Yanying said, “Congratulations!” Then she said, “You’re welcome to pay a visit to my Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind tomorrow!”
Li Qingshan said, “I was planning to do that!”
Afterwards, Li Qingshan drank to his heart’s content. Everyone was jolly in the entire parlour.
Qian Rongzhi looked away and began patrolling through the Parlour of Clouds and Rain. This was her responsibility as a White Wolf guard.
Suddenly, a voice rang out from behind her. “May I ask if you are senior Qian Rongzhi?”
Qian Rongzhi turned around, only to see a handsome young man standing there. He said, “I’m Lin Xuan. I’m also from the Academy of the Hundred Schools of the Clear River prefecture. I’m still cultivating in the school of Daoism right now. I’ve heard about senior’s great name a long time ago!”
Qian Rongzhi had heard of this name before. He was a rising star of the Academy of the Hundred Schools of the Clear River prefecture, and he had basically risen to fame over the years. However, she had seen far too many geniuses before. Let alone Li Qingshan and Xiao An, even she had earned the title of genius now. She had also received a letter of challenge from Yin Xiaochou, but she simply ignored it.
As a result, she did not believe a mere Qi Practitioner like him had anything worth noting. She just found his gaze sincere and his bearing gentle, which made her remember a distant memory for some reason.
“What’s the matter?”
The next morning in the Waterside Pavilion of Listening Wind, the lotus flowers stretched into the distance and oozed with fragrance.
Li Qingshan and Gu Yanying sat before one another, tasting the tea together in a very leisurely manner.
Gu Yanying placed down her cup. “In other words, you’ve made up your mind about going to the Mist province!”
Li Qingshan smiled. “Circumstances. With my cultivation, I can’t remain as a Scarlet Hawk commander, can I? And, in my knowledge, the Green province doesn’t have any open positions for me!”
Gu Yanying said, “And with your reputation, neither the imperial court nor the Hawkwolf Guard could possibly let you go. Even the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga can’t change that fact!”
A resounding reputation was both good and bad. Even the imperial court was forced to pay particular attention to a supreme genius who had undergone the second heavenly tribulation before the age of thirty. They had to keep him in their system. Although the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga dominated in the Green province, they could not contend against the Hawkwolf Guard and the Great Xia empire.
“Speaking of which, you should go back and pay a visit to the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga!”
“There’s no hurry for that.” Li Qingshan planned on pushing the first seven layers of the Demon Suppression Statuary to the peak before attempting the eighth floor of the Demon Suppression hall.
“That little girl of yours has already emerged from seclusion!”
Li Qingshan was taken aback. He was overjoyed. “Xiao An has emerged from seclusion!?”