Ancient Strengthening Technique Chapter 808-809
AST 808 – Setting Out On The Return Journey, The Road to Southern City
They had already decided to return to the Qing Village but there was still some time left. The flying beasts were able to fly to the Qing Village from the Greencloud Continent's capital in a very short time. After all, these flying beasts had been eating their fair share of medicinal pills and herbs that could raise their agility. They were all the most important people to Qing Shui, so he would definitely enhance their mounts to as powerful as possible.
Qing You and Qing Shi's Earth Rock Beast didn't consume any Crimson Pellets of the Nine-Headed Moon Wolf's Core, unlike Canghai Mingyue's Golden Winged Thunder Condor, Di Chen's Blue Luan, Di Qing's Azure-eyed Silver Falcon, Yiye Jiange's Snow White Crane and Wenren Wu-shuang's Water Cloud Swallow. Huoyun Liu-Li also owned a Golden Winged Thunder Condor now. It was a gift from Canghai Mingyue but it had been a fledgling and wasn't suitable to be used as a mount until now. It was the fledgling of Canghai Mingyue's Golden Winged Thunder Condor.
Taming the young of demonic beasts was very easy. They could be tamed as long as they were fed. It was a pity that demonic beasts took too long to mature so not many people could afford to wait. The Golden Winged Thunder Condor was no exception either. Huoyun Liu-Li had been riding on Canghai Mingyue's mount everywhere she went. Besides, she had never been apart from Canghai Mingyue so not having a mount wasn't really a big deal to her.
Although Huoyun Liu-Li's Golden Winged Thunder Condor wasn't fully grown yet, it had been growing quite fast under the effects of some medicinal pills and herbs. It was a pity that it couldn't fly over a long distance with people riding on its back yet or else it would bring great harm to it.
Shi Qingzhuang seemed to have never thought of owning a mount, along with Mingyue Gelou. But now Mingyue Gelou was already a cultivator of Martial Saint level, so she could tame a flying beast if she wanted but she had just never really gotten around to do it.
Di Chen's Blue Luan had the strength of Grade Five Martial Saint while Di Chen's Azure-eyed Silver Falcon was a Grade Three Martial Saint. On top of that, it was a Fantastic Beast. Qing Shui had only known about this after he had previously sent her to the Central Continent. He only knew that she had a flying beast before that. Otherwise, how could she come all the way from the Central Continent by herself?
The Azure-eyed Silver Falcon didn't have a powerful offense but it had an absurd battle technique like the Long Distance Teleportation. Every teleportation could cover about a hundred li with the usage limit of three times per day. This was also the reason why Di Qing could come from the Central Continent to the Greencloud Continent all by herself.
Yiye Jiange's Snow White Crane was also a Beginner Martial Saint level demonic beast now. This was the effect of consuming the Crimson Pellet of the Nine-Headed Moon Wolf's Core that Qing Shui had given to Yiye Jiange. So this could basically be considered the greatest potential of the Snow White Crane.
The Snow White Crane had been following Yiye Jiange around all this time. So even though Yiye Jiange had become powerful, she didn't want to change her mount either. Hence, Qing Shui had been saving a portion of anything that could raise a demonic beast's strength for her.
Wenren Wu-Shuang's Watercloud Swallow was about the same as Yiye Jiange's Snow White Crane. On the contrary, Luan Luan's Little Bai was only a Beginner Martial King due to its aptitude but it had officially became little lass's mount.
Qing Shui wasn't worried about Luan Luan. She already had the strength of a Beginner Martial Saint and her strength would continue to increase rapidly after this. So for now, she didn't need that many demonic beasts, unless there were demonic beast groups just like that group of Earth Devouring Mice. Taming a group of beasts was quite terrifying. Otherwise, she could tame some powerful demonic beasts or those with better potential instead.
Qing Shui was planning to use flying beasts of Martial Saint grade and above as method of transportation for their return journey. The other flying beasts would be put away. The Fire Bird and Diamond Gigantic Elephant had a very formidable strength and speed anyway and there weren't too many people from the main Qing Clan either.
Qing Shui still had more than ten Crimson Pellets of Nine-Headed Moon Wolf's Core on his hands. Luan Luan also had about ten of them, which were specially given to her by Qing Shui because these pellets were most precious items to Luan Luan who had the Heart of Seven Orifices.
Before they returned to the Qing Village, Qing Shui had basically performed a round of Gold Needle Marrow Cleansing and Constitution Nurturing as well as Gold Needle Acupuncture on the Qing Clan's third generation.
Gold Needle Acupuncture was also known as Gold Needle Acupoint Clearing, it gave acupuncture to the most basic acupoints. If lucky enough, a few basic acupoints may be cleared. Qing Shui knew about the wonderful benefits of clearing acupoints because most of the acupoints on his body had been cleared. Even some of his special acupoints such as the Yongquan Acupoint or Zhongfu Acupoint had also been cleared and needless to say, the effects were tremendous.
Even clearing basic acupoints could yield very tremendous effects, such as strengthening the meridians. So one would receive decent benefits as long as acupoints were cleared.
Qing Qing, Qing Bei and Qing You were better than the rest because eight of their acupoints had been cleared. The rest could only clear less than six. But after the marrow cleansing and constitution nurturing, their cultivation had been raised by quite a lot and their speed of cultivation had also been improved. This had in turn boosted their confidence immensely and motivated them to cultivate.
Qing Ming and Qing Yan were more than four months old now and already knew how to laugh. Their melodious laughter soothed Qing Shui's mood. Whenever Qing Shui was free now, he'd basically be playing with those children.
In his previous world, the thought of being able to have a few children never even crossed Qing Shui's mind. Of course, he would also never have thought that he'd have a few women, let alone women that were as beautiful as an immortal.
Shi Qingzhuang had changed the most among them. Ever since she had a daughter, a smile was often seen on her face especially when she was looking at Qing Yan. She'd have an extremely blissful and content smile on her face every time the fair little lass grinned and laughed. Qing Shui had never seen her smiling like this and had never even thought that she would be able to smile like this.
The greatness of a motherhood was indeed mysterious.
"Qing Shui. Look, Yan'er looks like she will be able to recognize people soon." Shi Qingzhuang told Qing Shui while holding Qing Yan in her arms.
"Oh? Lass, say 'daddy'." Qing Shui gently pinched the little lass's cheek.
"Pfft, she's still too young to speak." Shi Qingzhuang laughed at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui suddenly lifted Shi Qingzhuang up. "Come, let me hold both of you mother-daughter so you can feel the three of us being together."
"Qing Shui, be careful of the lass."
He turned a few rounds while holding them before putting them down again. The little lass seemed to be very amused. He looked at Shi Qingzhuang who was forever clad in a fiery red dress and softly asked, "Qingzhuang, can I ask you a few questions?"
"Ah, do you have to be this polite? You can just ask whatever you want to ask." Shi Qingzhuang gave him a faint smile.
"Well, I realized that all of your clothes were red. Why are your undergarments white……?"
"What color do you like?"
Qing Shui had thought that Shi Qingzhuang would huff at him in embarrassment. Little did he expect her response to be this. He embraced her gently. "I like whatever you like. I'm just curious."
A little more than a month passed again. The bitterly cold winter season had already arrived. Qing Shui and the rest were all prepared to return to the Qing Village. The matters of Heavenly Palace had been placed in Elder Ge's hands while the matters of Qing Clan were placed in the hands of the few Martial Saint elders from Qing Clan.
All of them set out on the return route to the Qing Village. Their flying speed wasn't very fast so they had to hurry back earlier. This was also mainly because there were little children with them. Although Qing Shui would use the divine energy to protect them, they still slowed down the speed. On top of that, they only hastened on with their journey during the daytime while stopping to rest at night.
The little children were all riding on the back of Fire Bird. Fire Bird had an unusual back that formed a leeward spot and Qing Shui had already pitched a small tent there for Qing Ming and Qing Yan to stay in it so they won't be affected by any wind. Qing Zun and Qing Yin could also be put in there if they fell asleep. The back of the Fire Bird was quite wide. The gigantic Fire Bird had a width and length of nearly a hundred metres. There wouldn't be any issues even if a few dozen people were to ride on it. Its fiery red and thick feathers were soft and were emitting warm heat. The two little fellows who were lying on it couldn't stop giggling.
Qing Shui had taken the route in the sky above the city. Although he wasn't worried about encountering demonic beasts now, he still hoped that they wouldn't be encountering any during their journey because there were children with them.
It would be slightly safer to travel in the sky above the cities. However, there was quite a distance of wasteland in between cities and in between countries. Although these were nothing compared to the ten thousand li of wasteland in between continents, they still spanned over quite a distance. On top of that, they still had to cross over enormous mountain ranges and there might be some powerful demonic beasts dwelling within these mountain ranges.
Powerful demonic beasts also existed on the Greencloud Continent and many places were still undiscovered. The Flowerfruit Mountain was one of them and he remembered about the Chieftain level demonic beasts there. Just how much was the restriction on the Flowerfruit Mountain? How much strength was needed to break that restriction? What was there in the deepest part of the Flowerfruit Mountain?
As the saying goes, 'curiosity killed the cat'. Once curiosity was piqued, nothing could stop it. Just like Qing Shui right now. He had a strong impulse that made him feel obligated to visit the deepest parts of the Flowerfruit Mountain.
He suddenly recalled about the palace under the Goddess Peak of the Flowerfruit Mountain and that exceptional beauty within the crystal coffin. That lady was akin to a divine being. Qing Shui remembered about the cold qi within her body and had a hunch that she must've been poisoned by a type of yin poison or cold poison. He had no idea how long had this lady been lying in the crystal coffin but he had a very strong impulse to wake her up and he didn't know why.
Perhaps it was because he had made a promise to that old turtle. He still had the Water Repelling Pearl it gave him. That old turtle that guarded the lady at the palace entrance had already been a psychic since long ago and even its strength was unmeasurably deep. But this would still have to wait, because Qing Shui wasn't too confident yet.
They only exited the continent city in a week's time. Their speed had slowed down even more than before. When they passed by the Southern City, Qing Shui and Canghai Mingyue brought the two little fellows to pay a respect to Canghai and his wife. Qing Yi and the rest went along too.
"Father, mother, look at whom I have brought to see you." Canghai Mingyue couldn't stop the tears from streaming down her face. She had Qing Zun in one hand and Qing Yin in the other.
"Zun'er, Yin'er, greet your grandfather and grandmother."
Qing Yi stood at one side as she murmured something.
"Senior, rest assured. I will take good care of Mingyue." Qing Shui said softly as he offered an incense stick.
Another month passed and they had safely arrived at the Qing Village. New Year was just about half a month away. Qing Shui and his clan landed at the foot of the mountain on the west side.
Looking at the Qing Residence, which remained unchanged, a smile appeared on everyone's face. They entered the Qing Residence. The courtyard was mostly overrun by weeds and now that it was winter, they were all withered.
Other than looking after the children, the rest started to clean the courtyard and the house. Since the bedroom was coated in a layer of dust, they had no choice but to change the bedsheets. Canghai Mingyue, Di Qing and the others had some new bedsheets in their Interspatial Silk Sachets.
Qing Shui helped Canghai Mingyue to tidy up the bedroom so that the two little fellows, Qing Ming and Qing Yan had a place to sleep. Mingyue Gelou and Shi Qingzhuang's room was just next door so they were able to tidy up all the rooms very fast. The rest were also able to finish tidying up very quickly.
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AST 809 – Returning to the Qing Residence, Qingzhuang Returning Home (teaser)
Qing Shui helped his few women to tidy up their rooms. Although Wenren Wu-Shuang didn't stay with them, she still visited the ladies' chamber very often. Then there was also Yiye Jiange.
Yiye Jiange was Qing Shui's wife in title, so he also very naturally went into her room to help her. Yiye Jiange didn't say anything and had the usual expression on her face. Qing Shui realized that he was also capable of being this calm.
They were involved with each other for more than ten years, along with Luan Luan coming in somewhere in between. They were not close relatives yet their relationship surpassed that of close relatives. They weren't husband and wife, yet they had the faint affection between a husband and wife.
In front of Yiye Jiange, Qing Shui's complicated feelings could never find an exact position to settle. Unlike with Di Chen, Qing Shui at least knew that she liked him so they would definitely eventually be husband and wife and Qing Shui could even be shameless about it.
But for Yiye Jiange's case, Qing Shui wouldn't know what to do even if he had grown ten more guts. Hence, they had been maintaining this strangely wonderful relationship akin to that of close relatives because other people thought they were husband and wife. Luan Luan also addressed them as 'Daddy' and 'Mother' and they would even have slightly intimate contact with each other sometimes.
Yiye Jiange didn't reject all this either. They would occasionally hold hands and gently embrace each other. All this seemed to be very natural between them and it even felt a little warm, much like how affection grew with time.
However, Qing Shui didn't expect Di Qing to ask him to help her tidy up her room next. He had helped everyone else so he was embarrassed to refuse her. Besides, Di Qing didn't even mind having him to help her out. Qing Shui was a little hesitant because he now knew that Di Qing seemed to be interested with him.
But seeing Di Qing's slightly pitiful appearance, Qing Shui didn't say anything else and followed her to her bedroom to help out. Luckily, Wenren Wu-Shuang, Qing Bei and Luan Luan were also here to help so it was very lively here and there were no awkward situations happening.
Qing You and the rest were responsible for outside. Cultivators still had impressive strength so they were able to clean up very fast. This kind of physical labor work could hardly even be considered a warm up and they were able to do it with extremely high efficiency.
Although the Qing Residence in the Qing Village wasn't small, they only spent half a day to tidy and clean it up. Then they were preparing their meal and also the food for New Year.
Qing Shui had actually already prepared most of the things. The members of Qing Clan had already gotten used to the fact that Qing Shui was able to take out many things. Just like now, he had food and some daily supplies. It was almost as if Qing Shui was carrying a sack that could hold everything.
There were still many brand new things in the Qing Clan's storehouse.
This was Qing Zun and Qing Yin's first time here but they were still children so they didn't really mind if the place was unfamiliar to them. After they woke up, they happily played around and even ran outside.
It hadn't been very long since they were back and the people in the Qing Village had came over one after another. Their pious attitude had let Qing Shui know that the Qing Clan and them were already from two different worlds.
Qing Shui sighed with emotion as he passionately welcomed the other people from the Qing Village along with Qing Yi, Qing Luo and the rest. The Qing Clan was once a similar clan to them before but now the Qing Clan had already become a brilliant moon in their eyes. So dazzling that they could only look up to them.
Qing Shui also felt very emotional right now. He had lived here for sixteen years. Everything here was so familiar to him. The customs and traditions here in particular made him feel very nostalgic. The simple and honest life here was very similar to his hometown in the previous world.
The people who came here saw some people from the Qing Clan clearing out the weeds in the courtyard and offered to help but they were refused by the people of Qing Clan. The Qing Clan simply couldn't bring themselves to do something like this because only the few from Qing Clan's third generation were cleaning the place while most of the people from Qing Clan were still relaxing. How could they let these folks work for them?
Shi Qingzhuang said she wanted to return home so Qing Shui informed his family before accompanying her back. The others were resting since they were already mentally exhausted.
It took only a moment to fly from the Qing Village to the Hundred Miles City on Fire Bird. Shi Qingzhuang who had Qing Yan in her arms stayed very closely to Qing Shui so that Qing Yan could be completely sheltered. Besides, Fire Bird's speed wasn't very fast either.
Qing Shui could also conveniently buy some stuff for New Year preparation, such as firecrackers, fireworks and the likes, as well as some text decorations with blessings and wishes during his trip to the Hundred Miles City this time .
Fire Bird landed at the main entrance of the Shi Residence. When Qing Shui and Shi Qingzhuang appeared at the entrance, those guards were taken aback. They were dazed for a moment before shouting in surprise. "The young miss has returned!"
"Qing Shui, let us go in!" Shi Qingzhuang glanced back at him and smiled while holding Qing Yan in her arms.
"Young Miss, you have returned." One of the youths among the guards greeted respectfully.
"Yes, is my grandfather still well?" Shi Qingzhuang casually asked with a smile.
"The Old Master has been very well but he missed you!"
A few people had already come out from inside while they were talking. The person in front happened to be the Old Master from the Shi Clan, along with the middle-aged couple who were still as good-looking as before.
They were Shi Qingzhuang's parents. But Shi Qingzhuang had grown up with her grandfather, Old Master Shi, since young so she was quite cold and detached towards the couple.
"Lass, you've returned and Qing Shui too!" Old Master Shi laughed heartily. Anyone could tell that he was extremely happy right now.
Qing Shui retrieved some expensive brocade boxes that contained some medicinal herbs and pills in them. The medicinal herbs were ginseng but they were all 2,000 years old and were grown within Qing Shui's Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal.
"This little lass looks quite like you, lass." Old Master Shi pointed out happily when he saw the little child that Shi Qingzhuang was holding in her arms before stretching his arms out to hold her.
Shi Qingzhuang's face was flushed as she passed her daughter over. The little lass didn't cry but was instead staring at Old Master Shi with her wide eyes.
"Little lass, when your mother came here when she was about your age." The old man chuckled.
Shi Qingzhuang saw some discomfort on the faces of the couple whom she should’ve called her parents. Perhaps it was from seeing Shi Qingzhuang or perhaps it was because of what the Old Master Shi had said earlier.
"Qingzhuang, you're back." The woman came up to her and said with a hopeful voice.
The man forced a smile at Shi Qingzhuang. His eyes were filled with guilt and tenderness but it was a pity those feelings didn't seem to have a target so he could only smile bitterly.
"Do you regret abandoning a child that you had given birth to? It would be better if you didn't give birth to her in the first place, then you wouldn't be in so much pain in the end. The lass has a very obstinate personality. But you don't have to be sad, since you all didn't do anything for her either." Old Master Shi said softly while he teased Qing Yan. But anyone could tell that his words were directed towards that middle-aged couple.
Qing Shui didn't expect this Old Master Shi to have such carefree personality. But he couldn't help it either, since this couple was his own son and daughter-in-law. They didn't take care of the child and abandoned her with him so he took care of her.
Shi Qingzhuang only casually responded with a word to that middle-aged woman who still retained her attractiveness despite her age and didn't speak to her again. The middle-aged woman was very passionate but Shi Qingzhuang was as cold as an ice right now.
The man was entertaining Qing Shui with enthusiasm. Qing Shui was smiling while he had a very pleasant conversation with him. The man was very sociable. He had never made the conversation difficult for Qing Shui to carry on and was being very amiable.
"What's the name of the little lass?" Old Master Shi asked gently.
"Hm, good name and has a very nice ring to it. A face that was as beautiful as the jade. Come, let's all go in." Old Master Shi invited Shi Qingzhuang and Qing Shui."
Qing Shui wasn't very sure how things turned out this way for Shi Qingzhuang and her parents. The couple seemed to have failed her and even Old Master Shi felt that the couple had made a grave mistake.
The man seemed to have noticed Qing Shui's perplexity so he explained as they walked. "After Qingzhuang was born, her mother and I didn't take care of her. Not long after that, we abandoned her with the Old Master. Then her mother and I left for four years without returning. Our reason for leaving was very funny, we went off to enjoy life……"
Qing Shui seemed to have vaguely caught onto something.
"By the time we came back, Qingzhuang didn't recognize us. She has had a very cold personality since young and Qingzhuang's mother didn't have a good temper either. So when Qingzhuang was being cold to her, neglected her and even refused to call her 'mother', she beat her….."
"After that we had a son, Mushi, so we didn't spend time together again for another few years. In the end, things eventually turned out this way. We have failed Qingzhuang and made her suffer." The man sighed.
Qing Shui also didn't expect something so simple to escalate up to this point. He was guessing that they didn't expect Qingzhuang would be this obstinate. On top of that, they had also broke her heart when she was so young back then and poured all of their affection towards Shi Mushi. They had no idea this could cause a very serious damage to a young child.
Family matters were the most troublesome. He didn't who was right or who was wrong in this matter. Or perhaps this had nothing to do with being right or wrong at all.
Qing Shui loved Shi Qingzhuang and respected her, so he wouldn't intervene with any of her family matters.
Shi Qingzhuang's parents only stayed here for awhile before leaving. They excused themselves affectionately from Shi Qingzhuang and Qing Shui and even played with Qing Yan before leaving with much reluctance.
"Lass, do you really still hate them that much?" Old Master Shi laughed gently after the middle-aged couple left.
"I don't know. I think I don't hate them that much after giving birth to Yan'er." Shi Qingzhuang replied softly.
"They were young and spirited back then but it wasn't like they didn't love you. They were just all over the place so things turned out this way. At that time, your mother's bossy temper was acting up and that cold attitude of yours when you were young was indeed destructive too. On top of that, Mushi was born. All these contributed to the outcome today. You would have been able to understand that when you were a little older. After you turned seven years old, they were basically helpless about you. It was their fault anyway, so I have never said anything on behalf of them all these years." Old Master Shi chuckled.
"I know Grandpa treats me the best." Shi Qingzhuang said happily.
"Life is too short, lass. Grandpa will never make you do anything you don't like. You may do anything as long as you are sure and you won't have any regrets. Grandpa has experienced many things for his age. I hope you won't leave any regrets for yourself." Old Master Shi said gently.
"Thank you, Grandpa. I understand and I get it."
Qing Shui and Shi Qingzhuang stayed for a little while more in the Hundred Miles City before standing up to excuse themselves, saying that they'd come stay for a few days after new year so they would be returning today first. Old Master Shi didn't force them to stay either.
Qing Shui and Shi Qingzhuang bought some goods for New Year in the Hundred Miles City. Setting foot once again in the Hundred Miles City today felt very different. The Situ Clan was no longer here and the biggest clans now were the Shi Clan, along with the He Clan and the Xiang Clan.
"Qing Shui, you saw it. What do you think I should do?" Shi Qingzhuang calmly looked at Qing Shui.
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