AST 1513 - It was actually the Ancient Ruins!
Qing Shui didn't notice the change in the woman's expression. His mind was entirely preoccupied with the thought of Sea King's Palace, even though the purpose of treasure hunting this time around was only in hope of gaining some form of advantage from it; to allow himself to advance towards Sea King's Palace a little faster, and the process a little smoother.
Qing Shui didn't dwell on what she said or bear any hope. It was like a kind of rambling, speaking without holding much importance to the conversation, hoping he would get the answer he wanted to hear.
Qing Shui found himself becoming more vulnerable, and when one felt vulnerable, they hoped others would show some empathy. He shook his head in an effort to ditch these thoughts. Regardless of what would happen after, he had to first find the treasure. The combination of his current level of might and the beasts could be regarded as formidable in the False God Realm. While it wasn't invincible, no one would be able to deal any damage to him either.
Even he felt speechless by his own ability to resist attacks and his own strength.
"Why are you looking for Sea King's Palace?" In a casual tone, the woman questioned just as Qing Shui stopped his own queries.
"It seems like my wife had gone to Sea King's Palace. I want to find her" Qing Shui did not conceal the truth.
"Sea King's Palace does not have a good relationship with the human race; an average person would not be able to get to the Sea King's Palace."
Qing Shui smiled as he glanced over at the mighty woman. Unknowingly their relationship seemed to have improved a little. At least they were cordial now, just as friends would be, though this perception might just have been a false impression.
"That is why I am a little concerned. Still, without knowing where Sea King's Palace might be in this vast Ice Ocean Domain, trying to find her will undoubtedly be akin to finding a needle in a haystack." Qing Shui said with a wry smile.
"When did your wife leave for Sea King's Palace? Are you sure she did?" The woman probed further as she donned a smile.
"It has been three years. I can't be sure, but there's a great possibility."
"Since it has already been so long, you're in no great hurry. I have heard about the existence of a Divine within the walls of Sea King's Palace, and to make things worse, they view human beings as their enemy. Of course, there are still exceptions of some who are good friends with the Aquatics."
"Yeah, let's wait awhile. Do you think there are Kunpeng within this Kunpeng Mountain?" Their friendship was still limited to casual discussion about the stranger things within Main Continent.
"There are multiple claims about it; some would say there are, others that said there aren't, and even some who would have claimed that they've seen it with their own two eyes. In the end, there is no way of knowing which is the truth."
Qin Qing's answer to his question had been redundant at best, but she wasn't incorrect either. In fact, her words might have been the most accurate answer there would ever be, it was only a pity that it was useless.
In any case, they had nothing better to do during the journey, resorting to speaking out of boredom, though neither made an attempt to understand each other any further than necessary.
From time to time, Qing Shui would unleash the Dragon Slaying Beast which possessed the same ability as the Treasure Hunting Pig. They couldn't hunt for treasures while on the move, hence, only as they were stopping for a rest could he release them to search within the vicinity.
While he had a beast that could treasure hunt, without the presence of said treasure, their effort would be futile as well. The reason why treasure was named that way, was precisely because of how rare they were.
Half a month had gone with a blink of an eye. Kunpeng Mountain was immense in size; even when Qing Shui was able to cover a huge distance with his Nine Continents Steps every day, he had not managed to reach the center of Kunpeng Mountain after half a month.
Not long after he had dismantled the tent, he heard a huge roar from afar. Qing Shui had allowed Dragon Slaying Beast to roam around in search of treasure when the loud cry rang out of the blue. He deduced that it should have come from a powerful beast.
"Miss, I'm going to take a look." Qing Shui was not all that worried about Dragon Slaying Beast but still decided to take a look around in the vicinity.
"I'll go with you!"
Qing Shui nodded at that and the pair flew towards the origin of the sound. Qing Shui's strength could not compare to the woman, but when comparing their speed, he was in no way inferior.
As the situation came into their line of sight, they froze. Qin Qing blushed, while Qing Shui had an odd expression.
Dragon Slaying Beast was not here. Instead, there were two great beasts engaged in an activity that even beasts love to do.
The two large white elephants were tangled in their attempt at producing offspring. That particular part was huge, and in contrast with the rest of its body, was not white in color. Rather, it was a little black, constantly moving in and out, while it sounded loud roars in the process.
"It's huge!" Qing Shui clucked.
Qin Qing flushed with anger. In a huff, she glared at Qing Shui before fleeing from the scene.
The powers of the two white elephants were decent, but that was as good as it had amounted to. Even though they were not in the depths of Kunpeng Mountain, the beasts here had already exhibited great might.
Once again, Qing Shui looked over at the two white elephants which went on their business as if there was no one else around, then left. There was no trace of Qin Qing when he returned and he knew she was in the tent.
When it was about time, Qing Shui began preparing for a meal. As the waft of its fragrance drifted through the air, Qin Qing reappeared from the tent she had hidden in and stood alongside Qing Shui while he carried on with his cooking.
In the many days of their journey, Qing Shui was the assigned cook for their meals. In the beginning, the pair contributed evenly to the task but as Qin Qing began to realize that Qing Shui's culinary abilities had greatly exceeded her own, she withdrew herself.
A mighty warrior with such powerful beasts, superb medical skills, great refining capacity, and on top of those, was a good cook—she suddenly found that there was seemingly nothing this man couldn't do.
She caught her own increasing curiosity about the person, and a young man at that. She knew that such single-sided interest about a person was not a good thing, and even if she was able to repress herself, the intrigue in her heart would not diminish.
Qing Shui made a bowl of fish soup. He had managed to catch a hare before, as well as some wild plants, and with a hand extending the hind leg of the baked animal, he offered Qin Qing. "Have a taste. You wouldn't be able to taste something like this in certain parts of the continent."
Qing Shui's words were not without reason. In his past life, it wasn't an easy feat to roast his own hare for a meal, much unlike in Nine Continents, where they were able to enjoy such meals from time to time in the Qing Village. Though, in the past, he was never able to make it as delicious as they were now.
Qin Qing accepted the food with a laugh. "Thank you!"
The woman had always been polite. Qing Shui could understand that it was a good way to maintain distance and so he didn't probe further. As she laughed, he reciprocated with a smile.
With the setting sun, the crimson clouds on the horizon were beautiful, and the cold weather didn't seem so cold at that moment. In the past, such scenery could only be seen in books. To be able to witness this here and now, he couldn't help but admire its splendor, this must be a lot better than those he had seen in his past life.
The evening breeze was cooling and a little chilly, but the air was really fresh. How could they have meat without wine? Qing Shui thought as he brought out his Plum Blossom Wing and poured a cup for the both of them.
Qin Qing had wanted to say that she didn't drink but as the aroma of wine tickled her senses, she remained silent. Instead, she accepted the cup of wine Qing Shui had poured.
"In the sea of people, to be able to make acquaintances with each other is a form of fate too. You are beautiful but rest assured, I am not a beast. Try the wine for yourself; see if you like the taste." With a laugh, Qing Shui brought the wine to his lips.
"You are a beast." The woman joined in the laughter and mirrored his action.
Qing Shui didn't know what she meant by those words but neither did he dwell on them. That was just how people were sometimes. At that moment, he suddenly felt the desolation of the world, and it reflected how he was feeling now.
He felt a wave of loneliness that came without warning; it was the kind of loneliness that gnawed at you deep within your heart. The feeling was indescribable and extremely uncomfortable.
Qin Qing noted the changes in Qing Shui's demeanor and she seemed to feel his loneliness emitting from his body. She grew more intrigued: would a person like him experience loneliness too? He had great talents and skills, what was there to be unhappy about? Was it because of his wife?
"Don't think too much about it. Your wife should be fine."
As she spoke those words, Qin Qing found that she was always comforting someone somewhere.
Qing Shui laughed. "Thank you, but I am not that worried about her. With her ability, she should do fine. It's just that, I felt a sudden sense of solitude, have you ever felt like this?"
"You look like an old man right now, like a broken kid. How did you get so deep so abruptly?" Qin Qing smiled and looked at Qing Shui.
Her smile was as pretty as a flower and at the sight of it, Qing Shui felt much better. Even though he knew that she was only trying to straighten out his muddled thoughts, it was still heartwarming but he did not think much about it.
It was indeed true that people want to be comforted in their most vulnerable state of mind. Even if it had been a simple word of comfort, it was still heartwarming. Just like people who were stuck in an all-time low, even with a quick extension of a helping hand and a light pull, they would remain grateful to their aid for all their life.
"Qing Shui, we should be nearing the destination. Every treasure is usually protected by a Guardian Beast or some sort of mechanism."
"Mmh. We should be able to get there within days if we proceed without a hitch, though the exact location remains to be found." While Qing Shui had said those words of concern, he remained unperturbed. Dragon Slaying Beast should have no issues finding it. As for the Guardian Beast, or even the herd of it, as well as the mechanism, he would react as the situation developed.
Three days later, the cry of Dragon Slaying Beast reached Qing Shui.
"Miss, let's go. It must have been found." Qing Shui greeted Qin Qing, before rushing towards the direction of Dragon Slaying Beast.
"This is actually the ancient ruins. It seems like the treasure will be buried here." With his eyes watching the entrance, he said.
Qin Qing seemed surprised as well, not expecting that they would be at the location of ancient ruins. All around them were mountains that overlapped each other, which made this particular location exceptionally concealed.
Qing Shui recalled the last time he had explored the ancient ruins where he received the Battle God Inheritance and a huge benefit. He wondered what he would find within the ruins this time around.
"Let's take a look inside. Perhaps no one has ever stepped into this place. In that case, there will be more valuable treasures for us to find and sell." With a deliberate blink of her eyes, Qin Qing said with a smile.
This little gesture by such a domineering woman was especially cute and endearing. It was extremely shocking, like the impact of a mature lady who exhibited bits of childlike mannerisms.
"Let's go in then!" Qing Shui smiled.
"Mmh? Wait a minute." Qin Qing spoke up suddenly, then walked a short distance away with Qing Shui following right behind her. On the floor beneath their feet, there were dust-covered jades.
"Looks like we have company, or maybe someone got here before us."
Qing Shui wasn't exactly unhappy. The ancient ruins had a huge interior, and besides, even if these people had gone in, they might not have been able to retrieve the treasures. Only those who were destined and those with might could reclaim these treasures.
"Let us enter as well. The ancient ruins are huge, even if there are already people inside, the chances of encountering them are slim."
Only after they entered had they realized their mistake. The site of the ancient ruins here was not large, even to the extent that it could actually be considered really small. It was more like a valley. Qing Shui took a look around; behind the mountain was a boundless stretch of water, and he had no idea which sea it could be connected to. Watching the sea, this place appeared more like an island.