AST 1520 - The Commanding Art of Pursuing, An Easy Victory
The battle was over. Qing Shui didn’t seem to have sustained any injury. While the other's strength was much greater than his, the battle led to an unexpected ending. Although Qing Shui knew that the elder would fail, he did not expect to achieve such an easy victory without the use of the Golden Scaled Dragon Elephant and Hell Nightmare Beast.
Yet all of it had not happened by pure chance. The Golden Battle Halberd was powerful, but it was not comparable to the Emperor’s Qi and the Art of Pursuing. The Golden Battle Halberd would not have been able to deal damage upon the old man that easily. Qing Shui had fought with the intention of gaining combat experience, but did not intend to defeat the elder. Yet, considering the old man’s questionable character, he unleashed the penetrability of Golden Battle Halberd after using his combined effort of Emperor’s Qi coupled with the Art of Pursuing.
The probability of penetration by the Golden Battle Halberd increased with the display of Nine Stances of Ancient Divine Battle Technique, but when dealing with those whose strength significantly exceeded his own, the odds would greatly decrease.
The old man was a lot stronger than Qing Shui. Hence, to still be able to match such an opponent in combat, Qing Shui thought the old man to be truly unlucky. This defeat was part of the old man’s destiny.
A dull sound of the old man’s fall reverberated from below. Still, a fall from this height was not enough to be fatal. However, seeing as the old man was already injured, it would definitely worsen his condition.
Qing Shui did not bother making his way down to exterminate the old man. There was no need. He was a physician, the sage physician of this region. Although he had killed before, he didn’t see a need for himself to do so after disabling the old man from the Hua Clan; there would surely be someone else who would finish the job.
There was a saying about how one would completely crush a defeated enemy when the opportunity presented itself. In that sense, in light of the Hua Clan’s terrible reputation, the old man would definitely be beaten to death in the same way.
Qing Shui left. He needed to calm down and process everything that had just happened. He was overjoyed; the battle had indeed been one that helped him realize his own strength.
The breakthrough with the Art of Pursuing had caused a number of mutations which allowed it to become an incomparably terrifying ability. Along with the Golden War Halberd and Dragon Slaying Beast, Qing Shui could be successful in every endeavor.
A rise of pride brought upon a sentiment that there was no one else apart from him who could pull off such a feat. Upon his return to the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, he began to train the Seal of Xuantian, a mighty ability that Qing Shui had omitted.
The Golden Scaled Dragon Elephant’s Diamond Sword Qi had shown its power as its strength increased, as with the Vajra Subdues Demons. Just the thought of it made Qing Shui laugh; he dared not presume that he would have no worthy contenders below the level of Divine, but it would be difficult for anyone within the False God realm to take him down.
He had no idea as to how it happened, but the news of his battle with the Hua Clan ancestor had spread. Now, everyone had come to know that the Hua Clan’s ancestor had been severely injured by Qing Shui and was now handicapped.
Qing Shui was a physician, a kind physician. On the other hand, the Hua Clan was nothing less than tyrannical within Linhai City, and hence had a poor reputation. Naturally, this caused more people to take Qing Shui’s side.
Regardless of the times, public opinion was very powerful. Here, it was regarded as the strength of faith. In addition, he didn’t know how word of him being the successor of Golden Battle God had broken out.
The Main Continent treated Battle Gods with genuine respect, and being the successor of a Battle God had bestowed upon Qing Shui a magnificent halo of light and the strength of faith. The strength of faith was a strange concept to Qing Shui as it seemed to increase the probability of penetration on his Golden Battle Halberd, as well as increase his attack twofold. It was only that it was too little.
"The Hua Clan is doomed now. I've heard that the Zheng Clan, who used to be on good terms with them, is no longer in contact with the Hua Clan either."
"More than thirty members of the Hua Clan died today. They really went overboard when they still had the upper hand."
"As for Sun Clan—ha, if I were the Sun Clan, I would not let the Hua Clan get away with it either. They had to endure the humiliation of having their granddaughter taken away by the Hua Clan, only to have their granddaughter be forced to death."
"Yeah, the Sun Clan should seize the opportunity and bring down the Hua Clan and torture them until their deaths. If I were a member of the Sun Clan, I wouldn't let them go either."
"The Sun Clan had integrity. They endured humiliation in silence. This is how a real man should be, to be able to bear through temporary setbacks and adapt to the circumstances."
Qing Shui didn't go out in the next few days, but noises filled the world outside, deep in discussion about what happened. Following the old man's defeat, the Hua Clan had been struggling in making any progress. In just a few days, they had lost one-third of their clan, and the number continuously increased.
These were no longer Qing Shui's concerns, but people like Xue Nuo would still keep him updated on the happenings. Since that day, there had been barely any contact between Qing Shui and Qin Qing.
Qin Qing had spent her time cultivating these days. He didn't know if she had truly been training or if she was just avoiding him. Qing Shui shook his head. Matters of the heart were the more exhausting affairs.
As always, Lan Lingfeng pursued the footsteps of the eldest daughter in the Ziche Clan. He was smarter now, no longer wearing his heart on his sleeve because he understood a simple logic. Miss Ziche had definitely realized his admiration towards her, and hence, there was no longer a need for him to express his fondness any further. To do that would have made him more inferior, and after thinking about it through the other's shoes, he could hardly stand for it either.
Apart from this, the relationship between Lan Lingfeng and Miss Ziche was much better than before. In fact, Miss Ziche had been repulsed by his persistent behaviour before, and now that he stopped these antics, she realized Lan Lingfeng was a pretty decent person.
While Lan Lingfeng appeared happy, he would still air his grievances to Qing Shui in private and ask for his advice on what more he could do. However, such matters were impossible to lend a hand with even if Qing Shui wanted to. With just a sentence, Lan Lingfeng no longer permitted Qing Shui's assistance:
"You can't cry if Miss Ziche fell in love with me instead."
Just one sentence, and Lan Lingfeng decisively ended all of Qing Shui's efforts to help.
Qing Shui was now concentrating on his training, but he had nothing better to do during the day; if he wasn't playing with the little girl, then he would be probing Qin Qing about training. But it seemed as though there was an invisible barrier between them.
Qing Shui approached Qin Qing's loft. They had known each other for quite a while now; from Kunpeng Mountain and back, and now, he had considered this woman a confidante.
That was how he felt, at least. He couldn't say the same for the enigmatic woman.
That woman was stern and diligent when it came to her training, but those alone weren't enough. Besides hard work and talent, time was a factor in attaining such achievement, but time could be compensated with something else.
It was how Qing Shui came to the deduction that while the woman did not possess something akin to the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, she had something that was several-fold stronger than the Saint Bracelet. Otherwise, it would be impossible to attain such achievements.
Noticing Qing Shui's arrival, she gave a smile and nodded her head. Since the previous incident, she no longer allowed Qing Shui to spar with her.
Still donning a smile, Qing Shui walked over with her to a small pavilion not far away. It was where one could take a rest, although there was always the other option of resting on the field beneath their feet.
Atop the smooth, marble-like stone table in the small pavilion, there was a pot of tea and several teacups.
"Qing Shui, I've been away for a long time. I'm going back soon." Qin Qing said, a small smile decorating her features.
His heart skipped a beat at her words, but gathered himself swiftly. "To the Ice Domain Dynasty?"
Qin Qing shook her head. Qing Shui recalled her mentioning something about being from the Great Qin Dynasty, but where exactly was that?
"I'm going back to the Great Qin Dynasty." Qin Qing said softly, looking intently at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui was caught in a dilemma; he did have a desire to visit the Sea King’s Palace, but his strength was still limited. At the same time, he also wanted to visit the Great Qin Dynasty
"Do you want to go with me?" Qin Qing's voice was light but clear. She looked at Qing Shui seriously, as if she wanted to observe his reaction.
"Alright, I'll go with you." After some consideration, Qing Shui concluded that departing for the Sea King's Palace now would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Perhaps he would wait a while more. Without the appropriate level of strength, trying to seek out the Sea King's Palace would be an issue anyway.
Qin Qing laughed, "You trust me this much? Aren't you afraid I will put you up for sale?"
"I’ll sell myself to you if that happens." Qing Shui smiled and looked at her.
"Ah, there are no good words to be expected from a scoundrel." Even when Qin Qing spat out those words, her face was flushed red in reaction.
Looking at her gorgeous smiling face, Qing Shui grew a little infatuated. "Sister Qin truly is beautiful!"
Qing Shui couldn't keep track of the number of times he had complimented her, but it must have been quite large. As Qin Qing heard him, she lifted her head and asked, "You like it?"
Qing Shui was flabbergasted. He nodded his head in reply, "I think I do!"
"What do you mean by you think you do? Either you do or you don't. There's nothing to think about!" Qin Qing replied with a laugh.
"I do like pretty women, but I won't describe what I feel for you in that way. There is an air of familiarity when it comes to you, as if I've known you for a million years." With a smile, Qing Shui explained.
"It seems like you are capable of cheating a woman's feelings too." Qin Qing laughed.
"Aren't you a woman..."
"Spout any more nonsense and I'm going to hit you." Qin Qing huffed in annoyance.
The calmness she felt before was shattered by Qing Shui as her brows became slightly knitted with rising anger. This rascal seriously had the guts to spout whatever he wanted.
"I know Sister Qing can't bear to leave."
Qin Qing was defeated by his words. As she glanced over at him, she wondered when they had grown so close. He had even called her sister…
"Take today to prepare what you'll need. We leave tomorrow." Qin Qing informed.
"I can leave at any time. I'll let them know of our plans."
Qing Shui intended to let Yin Tong and the others stay behind. With the Lan Clan and Ziche Clan here, the Imperial Cuisine Hall was safe. Not to mention that, Lan Lingfeng and Yin Tong were destined to be powerful forces. While they were not at that level now, they still wouldn’t be taken down by just any average cultivator.
On the other hand, the Ziche Clan was indisputably the strongest clan in Linhai City and the Imperial Cuisine Hall was still indebted to them regardless. Besides, their clan's eldest daughter was in the Imperial Cuisine Hall too.
Qing Shui had notified them of his decision to leave, and his wish for them to stay. He would visit from time to time, since he still had unfinished business here anyway. While others were hesitant about his departure, they merely reminded him to stay cautious.
"Qing Shui!" Yu Niang was reluctant to part with him.
"Sister, this is your home too. I will visit you often, so take care of yourself. There is no one in this world who would dare bully you." Qing Shui said sincerely before giving her a gentle hug.
While Qing Shui's words were spoken to Yu Niang, its meaning was directed towards everyone else. It emphasized the importance of Yu Niang to him. Yu Niang understood his intention as well. She had met Qing Shui when she was going through the worst times of her life, and since then, her life had undergone tremendous changes.
Qin Qing watched from the side. She noticed that he knew a lot about this place. She found herself wondering about Qing Shui sometimes, trying to understand him. Still, she felt that just being himself was good enough. It was the first time she seemed to be able to hit it off with a man.
Qing Shui and Qin Qing left, heading deeper towards the centre of Haohan Continent. Although it could be considered as the central region, their destination was just barely on its outskirts.