“I know. Five hundred years is far too short, but it’s not like I don’t have a chance.”
Li Qingshan was not surprised at all. To regular cultivators, they could conclude failure before the bet had even been established. They had no chance at all, but he was confident he was not “regular”.
“The issue is just how are these five centuries calculated?” Feng Xiwu shook his head with his hands behind his back.
“What do you mean?” Li Qingshan was confused. What other way was there to calculate time? Was it not all the same length no matter how it was calculated?
“You really don’t know, do you? Five centuries to you is different from five centuries to Qiongqi.”
“What difference is there?” Li Qingshan felt slightly uneasy.
“Haven’t you heard the saying about how a day in heaven is a year in the mortal realm?”
Li Qingshan immediately realised what was going on. His face changed. “You mean…”
“The trichiliocosm has worlds of large and small, of high and low. The larger, the higher up they are, the faster time flows. As a god, Qiongqi definitely stands in an extremely high and distant world, which is equivalent to the ‘heaven’ we speak of. Qiongqi’s five hundred years might be five millennia, or even more, to the nine provinces. If that were the case, you’d be alright. However, if it’s calculated according to five hundred years of your time, or in other words, five hundred years in the nine provinces, then you might only have fifty years, or even less, once you ascend!”
“What the fuck!” Li Qingshan swore violently. “That’s a thing? Is the difference really that great?”
“I’ve never ventured to a higher world either, so I only know some rough details. I don’t know about the exact situation. Perhaps I’m underestimating it. After all, ‘Insects of summer know no concept of ice, just like how a short lifespan is no match for the long.’ There’s another saying that goes ‘Just seven days in a cave, but a millennium has already passed in the world”. It sounds very unbelievable, but places like that do exist…”
“Stop right there! You don’t have to continue any further!”
Li Qingshan raised his hand. Bloody hell. If it actually was “Just seven days in a cave, but a millennium has already passed in the world”, then his five centuries would be reduced to three and a half days, which was only a blink of an eye for Qiongqi, and he would have to stand before him and fight him. It was no wonder that Qiongqi was patient enough to wait five hundred years for him.
Challenging a god in five hundred years’ time was already an almost maddening idea. Fifty years was basically absurd. What would three days be? Just a daydream?
“You don’t have to be too worried. You never explained this clearly when you swore the oath, so there’s room for maneuver,” said Feng Xiwu.
Li Qingshan frowned heavily and thought of that river that meandered through the void again. He did not know that it was the legendary Nether river, but he did understand to a certain degree that it was connected to his bet with Qiongqi. He would never overestimate an evil god’s morals.
Instead, he found that this all made perfect sense. Something like sparing the opponent and insisting on giving them enough time to grow before having an even match with them normally only ever happened in cartoons. No matter how Qiongqi seemed, foolish was not a word to describe him.
However, he did not feel particularly furious either. After all, he had survived. Whether it was five centuries or five decades, at least he had a buffer period. He could slowly come up with other ideas. If his strength was insufficient, then he could even think of ideas to get himself out of the oath.
What truly worried him was the difference in the flow of time. Brother ox had given him ten thousand years to make it beyond the Nine Heavens. Originally, he found that to be an extremely lengthy period, or even far beyond his reach.
But looking at it now, the Nine Heavens would definitely be located even higher up than the Demon domain, so just what would these ten thousand years mean to brother ox?
With each step he climbed up, the ten thousand years would rapidly shrink, and there were no ideas he could think of that could get him out of this. He had to race against time and increase his cultivation as quickly as possible if he wanted to make it in time for his promise beyond the Nine Heavens. He would rather die than break the promise!
Feng Xiwu thought that Li Qingshan was still worrying about the matter with Qiongqi, but Xiao An read his true thoughts. She tugged his sleeve. “We’ll definitely make it!”
Li Qingshan smiled brightly. Being racked with worry was not his personality. Even if he spent every single day with his eyebrows furrowed in thought, he would not get any closer to beyond the Nine Heavens, so why not just open up his mind and stride forwards?
“It’s time for us to return to the Green province.”
Li Qingshan gazed into the distant north. There were some grievances waiting for him to settle and some acquaintances he had not seen in a very long time. Suddenly, he thought of the figure of a woman. After so many years, was she still waiting for him? Perhaps she had already moved on. They had been separated for far, far too long.
Xiao An agreed to that and was also in thought. After changing her path of cultivation, her memories of the past regularly flooded her head. Her father and mother from the past were no longer insignificant labels either. However, she still had not thought through how she would face them, or if she should merely maintain the current situation. This was a worry that the unfeeling her of the past had never considered.
Li Qingshan rubbed her head, having sensed her changes a long time ago. He also felt happy for her.
“First father, can you take me to the Green province please?” The little phoenix flew over. His eyes were shining with anticipation.
“You’re going nowhere!” Feng Xiwu grabbed him by the back of his neck.
“First father, I promise you I won’t cause any trouble. I’ll train well and increase my cultivation and help you beat up the dragon king and Qiongqi in the future!” The little phoenix patted his chest and guaranteed.
“Damned brat, there’s nothing interesting about the Green province.”
Li Qingshan shook his head with a smile. He took quite a liking towards this foster son he had hatched himself. The little phoenix definitely was not boasting when he said he would help him beat up the dragon king. The divine bird, the phoenix, did possess that confidence. All he lacked was time.
Sigh, time! Time again! Just how am I supposed to deal with this?
“Anywhere is better than sitting in prison here. I’m begging you, first father. Just take pity on me!” The little phoenix gazed at Li Qingshan tearfully, completely ignoring the furious Feng Xiwu.
“Li Fengyuan!” Feng Xiwu bellowed furiously and slammed the little phoenix against the ground heavily. However, the little phoenix put up a struggle and refused to yield, constantly calling out, “Save me, first father!”
“Just bring him along!” Xiao An said.
Li Qingshan was slightly surprised. Even he who took a liking towards the little phoenix was reluctant to bring along a deadweight that would definitely stir up unnecessary trouble. Xiao An had always been quite indifferent towards the little phoenix, so why had she changed her mind today?
Even the little phoenix forgot to continue with putting up a struggle, staring at her blankly.
“If he’s a bird, then he’s supposed to fly through the sky, let alone the fact that he’s a divine bird, a phoenix. If you keep him restrained here, fellow Feng, it may benefit his cultivation, but it’ll wear down his spirit. What he lacks right now is not strength.”
Xiao An spoke with fervour and assurance for once, which even made Feng Xiwu sink into his thoughts. Recently, the little phoenix had indeed become more and more restless and irritable.
“I know you’re afraid of people coveting him, fellow Feng, but under Qingshan and my protection, just who can harm him? Not to mention that he himself possesses the strength of a Daemon King. If he’s too afraid to go out roaming under these circumstances, can he even be regarded as a phoenix? He won’t even be as great as a pheasant!”
“I’ll never be a pheasant!” the little phoenix called out in an extremely cooperative manner.
Li Qingshan grinned. He already understood what Xiao An was trying to say. In the past, a single phoenix feather had allowed his cultivation of the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa to progress drastically. Now, there was a whole phoenix right next to him. Feng Xiwu would definitely forbid them from doing this, but once they were outside, they could pluck his feathers freely!
Releases are back to normal. 2 chapters a day.