“First senior brother, you’re back!” Duoge came up to receive him the moment Li Qingshan returned to Savage mountain.
“I’ve made you wait. You should go first! I’ll be returning to the Green province very soon.”
“Really? Why don’t we travel together? There are still many aspects of the Demon Suppression Statuary that puzzle me, which I’d like to ask first senior brother about.” Duoge was afraid that Li Qingshan had changed his mind and was trying to coax him into returning to the Green province alone.
“What, you don’t trust me?” Li Qingshan laughed and patted his shoulder.
“Of course I do!”
Duoge felt that his first senior brother had changed drastically yet again in a few short months. The resplendent sunlight gilded him with a layer of gold as he cast a black shadow. In a daze, his figure seemed to overshadow the mountains in the surroundings, incomparably tall and upright. However, when Duoge returned to his senses, he realised it was only an impression. His expression seemed even more mellow than before.
Li Qingshan said, “Then get out of here! I still have a few matters I need to handle in the Mist province, so I might come a few days later. Though, given the distance, I might end up getting back before you.”
“I’ll set off right now and report back to master!” Duoge set off on his journey immediately, making his way right out of Savage mountain.
“First father!” The little phoenix flew down from a tree branch and landed on Li Qingshan’s shoulder. His resplendent tail feathers dragged on the ground.
“How is this place compared to Fire Melt mountain?”
“Much more fun.”
“Then you can just stay here.”
“No, I want to go to the Green province!”
As they spoke, Li Qingshan arrived before the Great Banyan Tree King and smiled. “Fellow, you still owe me something!”
“I knew you wouldn’t forget. Come to Towering city!” The Great Banyan Tree King said, “I’ve been waiting for all this time.”
Duoge left Savage mountain, but he dared not fly in the air. After switching over to the Demon Suppression Statuary, he could not be regarded as a demonfolk anymore, but his power still originated from the demon heart in his body. Demonfolk were being hunted down everywhere across the Mist province right now, so he could not be careless.
Suddenly, he looked back and saw three streaks of light burst through the mist, rising up into the sky and flying over his head towards the north. He completely stopped worrying after seeing that.
Li Qingshan travelled north and left the South Sea commandery before long. As he recalled everything that had happened in the past two decades, he could not help but become rather emotional, but he discarded these thoughts very soon. There was still a very long path ahead of him. Now was not the time to cherish the past.
The endless sea of trees extended off into the distance as the weather varied. Suddenly, an uneven shadow that rose and fell appeared on the horizon, connecting with the sky, the thick mist, and the clouds.
Was it a mountain? No, they were trees!
The great banyan trees towered above the world. Every single one resembled a mountain with thick mist flowing at their feet. Their deep-green canopies mingled together, like an endless sea of clouds. The aerial roots grew in twists and knots, like hornless dragons leaping through the landscape.
Li Qingshan could not help but stop and gaze into the distance, but there was no end to it. Even when he knew the Great Banyan Tree King’s main body was colossal, stretching for thousands of kilometers, he could not help but be amazed right now.
“So big! So big! So big!” The little phoenix cried out, “Much bigger than second father!”
“Seems a little too big,” Xiao An said instead.
Li Qingshan had not thought of that, but he nodded in agreement. “A little!”
“What does that mean? What’s wrong with being big?” the little phoenix asked in confusion.
“There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not completely beneficial. Aren’t you very small?”
Li Qingshan smiled. In the past, he would not have noticed anything strange about it either. He would only be sighing in amazement. In his regular form, even with his tail feathers included, the little phoenix was only around three meters long, while the divine wutong tree was not as great as any of the banyan trees here.
Even the Great Whale King was only around thirty thousand meters long. Compared to that, the Great Banyan Tree King truly was a little exaggerated in size. Even when banyan trees naturally possessed the ability to grow into a forest from a single tree, it definitely had not been easy for him to develop to such a vast scale. Who knew how much effort he had put in.
When Li Qingshan saw the sea of trees, he no longer had any doubts over the Great Banyan Tree King’s strength anymore. He even felt he might have been the most powerful existence in the World of the Nine Provinces. The great banyan trees did not only grow there. Instead, they seemed to be assembled in a formation, forming a domain of their own. Even if the Dragon King of Ink Sea entered this sea of forest, it would probably end in suffering.
However, what cultivators pursued was quality—to gather energy, break through, and constantly climb higher—not quantity. The Great Banyan Tree King’s horizontal development really was a little puzzling. If he devoted all of this effort to his main body, he probably would have ascended a long time ago.
“Who are you? This is the territory of Towering city!”
The sea of trees in the distance rippled, and a giant with green skin and the pattern of wood stood up among them, gazing at Li Qingshan cautiously. “Humans aren’t welcome here!”
“Giant Lumberfolk!” Li Qingshan said in surprise. The aura that the giant lumberman gave off had clearly surpassed the third heavenly tribulation too, making him a Giant Lumberfolk King on top of that. He had been overwhelmed by the sea of trees just then, and coupled with the fact that the giant lumberman’s aura blended in with the trees perfectly, he actually failed to sense him.
At this moment, the sea of trees trembled, and the mist dispersed. The great trees beside the Giant Lumberfolk King stood up, turning into green giants. They all looked at the little phoenix, their eyes filled with wonder. After all, they did not see a legendary phoenix every day. However, they all remained silent, perhaps communicating with their soul sense.
“We’re the Great Banyan Tree King’s guests. We’re going to Towering city!”
Li Qingshan recalled many years ago that he had once told a giant lumberman he wanted to visit his home one day. It probably was not here, but it was basically still a wish come true.
“Guest!” The Giant Lumberman King frowned and did not believe Li Qingshan was qualified for something like that. Instead, he felt like the two people behind him, a great cultivator that had undergone the third heavenly tribulation and something that resembled the legendary phoenix, were much more worthy of being received by the Great Banyan Tree King.
At this moment, a ripple emanated over from the distance, spanning several thousand kilometers of forest. The Great Banyan Tree King’s ancient voice boomed out, “Please forgive me for failing to anticipate your arrival, esteemed guests!”
In that moment, all of the daemons and otherfolk living within the sea of trees learnt about Li Qingshan’s arrival.
The Giant Lumberfolk King was astonished. In his memory, only when the past Kings of Southern Yue ascended to the throne and visited the sea of trees for the first time would they receive such treatment.
Li Qingshan shook his head with a smile. “With how polite you are, I’m even afraid to come in now!”
“Hahahaha, I’m only afraid that I’ve received you inappropriately, so please forgive me, my friend Qingshan!” The Great Banyan Tree King laughed heartily. Although he knew what kind of person Li Qingshan was, he still felt very delighted seeing how he was still the same as before and had not changed at all.
“I’ll definitely have to blame you if there isn’t fine alcohol!” Li Qingshan also laughed aloud.
“Then take your time. I’ll definitely make sure you drink to your heart’s content!”
“Since you’re an esteemed guest of the tree king, please come over and have a cup!” The Giant Lumberfolk King smiled gently and amicably, raising his hand to invite him.
“Sure!” Li Qingshan took a step and entered the sea of trees, arriving in the kingdom of the Giant Lumberfolk.
With a boom, something huge landed before Li Qingshan, over three meters tall. It was engraved with many simple patterns. The Giant Lumberfolk King crossed his legs and sat down, also holding something similar in his hand. It was actually a wine cup carved from wood. It rippled with a faint, green alcohol, giving off a heavy fragrance.
“This is Woodfruit alcohol, a fine liquor that only Giant Lumberfolk can make. You can’t drink it anywhere else, so please help yourself!” The Giant Lumberfolk King downed the entire cup with that. He hintingly said, “If you can’t drink it all, just a taste will do. There’s still a long journey ahead of you before you reach Towering city!”
If the tree king wanted to treat him with the utmost cordiality, he would never brush that aside, but he did feel a little curious and unconvinced inside. He wanted to see what made Li Qingshan so impressive!
The other giant lumbermen stopped being silent too. Some urged him on. “Drink! Drink! If you don’t drink it all, then we’ll have received you inappropriately, and we won’t be able to face the tree king! After this cup, there’s still three more!” Some tried to persuade him. “How can you drink so much alcohol given your tiny size? It’s fine if you can’t finish it! Don’t force yourself!”
“I’ll drink!” The little phoenix dove towards the alcohol cup.
“Since when were sons permitted to steal alcohol from their fathers?” Li Qingshan grabbed the little phoenix’s wings and kicked the bottom of the huge wine cup. The liquor immediately poured out like a tiny waterfall.
Li Qingshan opened his mouth and inhaled. The fine alcohol poured into his mouth, also finishing it off with a single gulp.
“You sure do have quite the capacity!”
The Great Lumberfolk King was slightly surprised. It was not because of Li Qingshan’s hearty drinking, but because he managed to casually catch the little phoenix diving with speed even slightly faster than regular Daemon Kings. Even he himself was not confident enough to perform such a feat. Sure enough, he was anything but ordinary for the tree king to treat him as an esteemed guest.
“That’s nowhere near enough! Bring the alcohol!”
The cup was filled again. Li Qingshan drank three whole cups, leading to a series of cheers from the giant lumbermen in the surroundings. Only the little phoenix called out unhappily, “I want to drink too!”
Thunk! A huge cup landed before the little phoenix. He cried out happily and directly plunged his head into it.
The other giant lumbermen took part too, drinking away heartily.
Li Qingshan drank away happily, continuing until the giant lumbermen did not have a single droplet of alcohol remaining. Only when the giant lumbermen collapsed on the ground did he wave his hand in farewell, continuing towards Towering city.
The Giant Lumberfolk King watched as Li Qingshan’s figure vanished into the forest and shook his head. He really could not understand him! Suddenly, he remembered something and cried out painfully, “Ah, my alcohol!”
The sea of trees was deep and gloomy, permeating with mist, but it was filled with bizarre, wondrous sights too.
Li Qingshan leapt between the branches. Before he had even travelled five kilometers, a black figure rushed out of the soil beneath the trees, blocking his path. As it turned out, he was a thin, dark-skinned man, covered in scales and plates. He was a Daemon Commander transformed from something unknown, carrying a great bundle on his back.
“Have a taste?” The Daemon Commander opened the bundle, and it was actually filled with thousands of colourful insects. Some wriggled, some crawled, and some flew. It was quite a frightening sight.
“Sure!” Li Qingshan casually grabbed a red, shelled insect and tossed it into his mouth. He bit into it gently and juice poured out. It was refreshingly sweet, even more than nectar. He tasted them one by one. These insects were either sour or sweet, spicy or salty. They each had a flavour of their own.
The little phoenix originally disdained to try any, but seeing how Li Qingshan dined away happily, he could not help himself and try one. He could not stop afterwards.
Li Qingshan constantly stopped along the way, encountering countless otherfolk tribes and daemons which presented a bizarre array of items to receive him with. Some had even travelled over from several hundred kilometers away, preparing fine alcohol and food near places he would definitely pass by. It was basically a feast following a feast.
He did not care who it was or what it was. If there was alcohol, he would drink it, and he would finish it every single time. Gradually, he became a little tipsy, singing at the top of his voice along the way and laughing away in a drunken stupor!
Releases are back to normal. 2 chapters a day.