In the expansive phoenix’s nest, Li Qingshan shut his eyes and stroked the phoenix’s embryo gently, circulating the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa at the same time. The magnificent phoenix wings unfurled, his scarlet hair flew like fire, and his devilishly handsome face automatically gave off a sense of nobility.
Seeing this, Feng Xiwu could not help but feel that his decision had been correct. Li Qingshan was not as crude as he seemed. After all, he still possessed the bloodline of the noble phoenix, which would influence him to a certain degree.
However, unbeknownst to Feng Xiwu, Li Qingshan’s three other bloodlines were even stronger.
Afterwards, Li Qingshan sat down gently and shoved the phoenix’s embryo under his bottom along the way down, leaning on his hand and assuming a pose of thought.
“What are you doing!?” Feng Xiwu wrapped his hands around Li Qingshan’s throat viciously and gave off a hint of madness.
“Hatching the egg!” Li Qingshan choked out three words.
“Move your dirty bottom!” Feng Xiwu roared.
“That’s how all birds hatch eggs!” Li Qingshan shrugged.
“It’s not a bird, it’s a phoenix! It’s not an egg, it’s a phoenix’s embryo!” Feng Xiwu corrected him with his patience running out. He snatched the phoenix’s egg from Li Qingshan’s bottom and rubbed it forcefully.
“Cough, cough. What do you want me to do?” Li Qingshan rubbed his throat.
“Definitely not that pose!” Feng Xiwu rubbed the phoenix’s embryo forcefully as he made a gesture of absolute forbiddance.
“Then what kind of pose do you like!?” Li Qingshan said furiously before sighing again. “Let Xiao An in. I just can’t communicate with you.”
“Think it through. If she comes in and sees the phoenix’s embryo, she can’t leave.” Feng Xiwu warned.
“What’s there to think about? Hurry up!” Li Qingshan said without hesitation. Who knew when he would achieve his great cause of hatching the egg. He did not want to be locked up with someone who was mental the entire time. Xiao An had to be by his side, or even Xiao An would disagree with that.
Xiao An currently paced around beneath the wutong tree, contemplating how to get up there, when the lush branches formed a path. She immediately climbed up the divine wutong tree and arrived in the phoenix’s nest. When she saw it, she could not help but be taken aback, not because of this wondrous domain, but because Li Qingshan was currently curled up on the ground on his knees.
Feng Xiwu crouched on the side and nodded in satisfaction. “That’s more like it. Even when it comes to birds, they don’t sit on the egg. What touches the egg should be the abdomen.”
Between the two of them, one was a great Daemon King from the same age as the phoenix, while the other was the King of Savages whose name echoed through the Mist province and had taken down Fire Melt mountain. Their current posture truly gave off a sense of strangeness and… humiliation from all angles!
“What’s this?” Xiao An made her way over, guessing the reason slightly.
“Egg-hatching,” Li Qingshan sighed. To think that I had been so mighty and awe-inspiring when I took down Fire Melt mountain, only to end up like this.
Feng Xiwu stood up and straightened out his sleeves, bowing gracefully towards Xiao An. “Welcome, honoured guest. If I’ve received you poorly, please forgive me!”
Xiao An returned the gesture, completely matching Feng Xiwu in elegance and courtesy. This was not only her bearing, but also the education she had once received in the King of Chu’s estate. The courtesy had already become part of habit, except the great bumpkin Li Qingshan had never cared about these details.
Feng Xiwu’s eyes lit up. Immediately, he developed a favourable impression of her. He sighed. “A pity, a pity. If you had the bloodline of the phoenix, there would be no problems. I really struggle to communicate with this ruffian.”
“You bastard, that's what I want to say. Stop posing around. Xiao An, don’t be fooled by him. Once you come in, you can’t leave anymore.” Li Qingshan warned.
“I see.” Xiao An crouched down and touched Li Qingshan’s hair. “Are you alright?”
“Don’t worry, I would have never entered here if I wasn’t alright. Looks like we’ll be here for a while.” Li Qingshan produced a toothy grin. Before he had entered the crater of the volcano, he had divined with the spirit turtle. There was danger, but it was also hiding an auspicious omen, which was why he entered the phoenix’s nest.
Of course, divination could only be used to forecast the general situation. Matters still lay in the hands of people. Even in the face of almost certain death, there would still be a chance for survival, and no matter how great an auspicious omen was, seeking death would still result in death.
Feng Xiwu stared at Xiao An, slightly surprised. When regular people found out they had been trapped, it was virtually impossible for them to accept it so calmly, not to mention when their companion had dragged them down. They would grumble a bit at the very least. Something like that did not seem to exist between them.
He asked, “Are you cultivation companions?”
“What’s it got to do with you?” Li Qingshan answered.
“So be it. As long as you can hatch the egg, I don’t care about anything else. Please focus a little. Don’t be distracted!”
“Nope, this pose is far too ugly. I have to change it.” Li Qingshan leapt onto his feet and sat down with his legs crossed instead, hugging the egg in his arms and wrapping the phoenix wings around him.
Feng Xiwu realised that Li Qingshan was not a weak-willed person who would put up with abuse, and he also felt a hint of guilt for forcefully trapping him here. As long as he did not destroy the phoenix’s embryo, he could do as he pleased.
Xiao An leaned against Li Qingshan and said in thought, “How long will it take to hatch this phoenix’s embryo? A few years or an entire century?”
Li Qingshan was taken aback. He had not considered this question. A few years were fine, but if it really did take an entire century, then he would be in trouble. He could not help but cast a questioning gaze towards Feng Xiwu.
“Since it’s a phoenix of eternal life, even spending over a century to hatch it is nothing. That’s actually too short. In my opinion, it’ll take a thousand years at the very least!” Feng Xiwu stood with his arms behind his back as he shook his head.
“Oi, big bro, you better not be joking around!” Li Qingshan cried out in alarm. If he emerged a thousand years later, all of his old acquaintances would probably be dead already. By then, what Academy of the Hundred Schools? Probably even the Great Xia empire would have gone up in smoke. He soon remembered that this phoenix’s embryo had spent at least ten millennia in Feng Xiwu’s possession, and even he was unable to hatch it. A shadow was cast over his heart.
“Is a thousand years very long?” Feng Xiwu was very surprised. A single slumber of his could last a thousand years.
“Of course! I’m not even a thousand years old right now- no, I’m not even a hundred years old!” Li Qingshan roared. Suddenly, he discovered that their concepts of time were worlds apart.
Even the most ordinary wutong tree could live for over a thousand years, let alone a divine wutong tree, one that had grown up with the phoenix of eternal life on top of that. He had witnessed the changes of the world. To him, even the Great Xia empire that had been founded several thousand years ago would not have existed for very long. That was why virtually everyone treated him as an inanimate object.
“You’re not even a hundred years old!? Your cultivation has actually progressed so quickly? That’s unbelievable. Even among humans, there aren’t a lot that can achieve that. Are you really a daemon? Sigh, no wonder you’re so rough and crude! You’re still too young!” Feng Xiwu cleared his throat. “Small knowledge is no match for great knowledge, nor is a short lifespan a match for a long one. How do we know this is so? The mushroom that sprouts in the morning and dies by evening doesn't know the difference between night and day. The locust doesn't know the difference between spring and autumn. These are examples of short lifespans. For me, spring and autumn each lasted eight thousand years. That is an example of a long lifespan.”
TL: Yes, Zhuangzi strikes again. This comes from the chapter 1, Carefree Wandering, of the inner chapters, except the author has twisted the words rather cleverly to fit in Feng Xiwu. Once again, I’ve borrowed from Victor H. Mair’s translations from his book, Wandering on the Way: Early Taoist Tales and Parables of Chuang Tzu.
“Don’t get all poetic with me. It’s impossible for me to stay here for a thousand years. Even a century won’t work.”
“Do you think I like you? If you can hatch the phoenix’s embryo right now, I’ll let you leave immediately!”
Releases are back to normal. 2 chapters a day.