Ancient Strengthening Technique Chapter 857-858
AST 857 – Eastern God Country, Dongfang Aristocrat Clan
Qing Shui left the place. Even though the old man from the Golden Buddha Temple didn't say anything and he did not leave any sort of promise, Qing Shui knew that he would help them if the circumstances were right, that is on the condition that they even required help.
The stood on his Fire Bird and flew towards the east at high speed. This unplanned incident at the Golden Buddha Temple was extremely significant, it could even be a turning point, since he felt that he was much closer to the seventh Layer of the Ancient Strengthening Technique after his breakthrough. He felt that his body had entered a new mysterious realm as he stepped closer to the seventh Layer.
It is rumored that one with the strength of ten stars could start sense the realm of Martial Emperor. But Qing Shui knew that it was very rare for someone to be able to do that with just ten stars of strength and understanding how powerful a Martial Emperor could be was just the tip of the iceberg.
Most importantly, he did not know how much strength one had to accumulate to become a Martial Emperor. He only knew that the numbers wouldn't be small and he did not know how the Grades in Martial Emperor were segregated in the World of the Nine Continents.
Qing Shui longed to reach the seventh Layer of the Ancient Strengthening Technique. It was a critical level of the Ancient Strengthening Technique that allowed the user to move from intermediate to advanced grade. It should at least provide a x10 effect on his strength and that was only his conservative estimate. Even the transition from third to fourth layer, lower to intermediate, produced a greater than x10 effect.
Everytime, he went from the initial layer to the next, the qi in his dantian turned from gaseous to liquid which enabled him to gain a lot of strength and Qing Shui did not know how his strength would soar for the next transition, this made him look forward to reaching the seventh layer.
Qing Shui was now observing his Vajra's Glare which he rarely used. He could easily count the rare occasion which he used that because the effects were too insignificant at the moment or rather it was on a much lower level so it wasn't that useful to him. If he was successful, the effects will be great.
Vajra's Glare was a skill which required activation. It focused all of the strength throughout one's body on the eyes and shot it towards the opponent in a unique way. There was quite a high chance it would distract the opponent. The stronger the target was, the lower the chance of success.
He did not know what realm his Vajra's Glare was in but he knew that the success rate had risen by 10%. Despite the increase in success rate, the effect of the skill was still highly depended on the opponent's strength and spiritual energy. Qing Shui was still very happy since he was rather confident about his current level of spiritual energy. He suddenly remembered the flyleaf with the words 'Buddha Eyes' on it, that was given to him. He immediately took it out and started reading.
Buddha Eyes, also called Buddha True Eyes, was an ability that allowed one to see through all illusions. The user could directly attack their opponent’s 'soul' by channeling an attack through their eyes, thus causing an injury to their spiritual body. In serious cases, the opponent might even appear to lose their soul.
It was a sort of spiritual attack.
At this point, Qing Shui realized that this Buddha True Eyes seemed to be related to his Vajra's Glare despite their difference. Since the old man said that he was fated to learn this Buddha True Eyes, did that mean that the old man knew that he knew the Vajra's Glare?
After that, he reviewed the technique of the skill. He decided to try it out because he had some time, hoping that perhaps it would also speed up the progress of his Vajra's Glare.
Nine Continents Steps!
The further east he went, the more flying beasts and demonic beasts he saw. He even saw other cultivators riding their flying beasts. They were extremely fast and disappeared from sight quickly.
As he headed east, the concentration of spiritual qi in the atmosphere increased. Qing Shui could see the cities, mountains, forests, rivers, lakes and seas from his Fire Bird's back but he was not in the mood to explore.
He felt that his time was limited, so it wasn't the right time to explore now. His priority was to reach Eastern God Country, the landmark at the far east of the continent before Sky Penetrating Mountains.
When he thought about the Golden Buddha Temple, Qing Shui suddenly remembered the young fatty that he met when he was buying herbs a long time ago. He brought the fatty back to the Qing residence, but one day a monk brought the man away saying that he had an affinity with Buddha…
He has an affinity with Buddha? He, himself was also told this. He wondered where the monk brought the fatty to and if the fatty had now become a powerful cultivator. Maybe, it was even possible to meet him again.
At Eastern God Country…
After three months, Qing Shui finally arrived at Eastern God Country. He decided to stay in a nearby city for about two days before heading to the capital city. The capital city of Eastern Victory Divine Continent was also the capital of Eastern God Country. This was nothing unusual since capital cities were commonly found in the best locations on the continent. As he was approaching a city and it was near noon, he decided to land and stay there for two days.
The city gave Qing Shui the impression that it was filled with history, though that might not be the case for others. The architecture in the city did indeed contribute to his impression of the place. Most of the buildings were at the north and faced south. The roofs were high in the centre and gradually sloped down two sides to allow for rain to run off and reduce accumulation of rain.
The roofs were made of durable yellow and red tiles. They were pleasant-looking; not lavish but still retained a sort of grandness. This was also the reason why Qing Shui chose this city for his short stay.
As noon approached, a faint aroma filled the streets, especially the one that Qing Shui was on, which was primarily occupied by restaurants and eateries.
There were simple setups of benches and tables along the street, as the small eatery owners started preparing various food items. They busied themselves, as they struggled to make a living, just to survive and have a better life.
"Fresh Scallion pancakes! Made from techniques handed down over the generations! Don't miss your chance to try one!"
"Old Hu Mala Soup!"
Qing Shui ears were filled with hawkers touting loudly, over and over again.
"Oh, this smells good!"
With Qing Shui's keen sense of smell, he immediate looked over in the direction where the aroma was coming from. It was not far and he walked over casually. It was a normal family owned stall which sold only scallion pancakes, a few side dishes and porridge.
The hawker was a woman who was about 30 years old. There were four children around the ages of three to eight. There were three boys and one girl. The girl was the youngest, she sat on a mat playing with two other slightly older boys. The boy who was about eight was scrubbing some bowls, helping the woman.
Qing Shui watched the woman and her children and began to think about his mother. Mothers are the greatest, they can and will go through any sort of suffering for their children.
The woman was very beautiful but coarse-looking clothes hid most of her elegance and there were tiny wrinkles on her face due to her overworking.
The woman seemed to notice that someone was staring, so she looked up and saw Qing Shui. She smiled, "Young sir, do you want to have your meal here?"
"I'm broke," Qing Shui said softly.
"It's just some home-cooked dishes. It's okay. Everyone has their difficult times, it'll be fine as long as you do something about it," the woman smiled, speaking warmly. Qing Shui looked at the almost empty stall. There were so many customers elsewhere but there were only one of two customers here. Furthermore, the few people looked poor.
In a short time, a plate of side dish, a scallion pancake and a bowl of porridge was placed in front of him. They smelled good, it was this aroma that he had detected. He thanked the woman cheerfully and started eating.
Once he started eating, Qing Shui could tell that it tasted alright but it was normal— actually too normal. The contrast between the pleasant smell and the oddly normal taste made him feel uncomfortable. It might be better if it did not smell so good. The contrast annoyed him.
"Does it taste bad?" the woman asked when she noticed Qing Shui pausing after just one mouthful.
"No but it does not match its smell." Qing Shui answered and continued eating.
The woman knew this but she had no choice. To feed her family, especially her children, she had to do this. She was unable to hold back a sigh.
"Sister, do you have a piece of paper and a brush?"
Qing Shui asked the woman.
"Do you know how to read?" Qing Shui asked having he thought about it for a moment.
"A few words!" the woman replied.
Qing Shui waited for the woman to provide him the paper and brush. Thereafter, he started scribbling a few recipes for scallion pancakes, sides dishes, porridges, two desserts and some soups. They were dishes that did not cost much to make and he finished by leaving a sentence to ask the woman to burn the paper after reading. He then passed the paper to the woman.
"Since I got a free meal from you, I'll give this to you. It might be useful to you." He gave it to the woman and left.
The woman took it from him without much though. She watched as Qing Shui disappeared from sight before she opened up the piece of paper. She was stunned when she saw the recipes. The ingredients couldn't be any more normal but she sensed that the recipes were very valuable. She sighed looking at the direction that Qing Shui disappeared from. After that, she looked to the boy washing dishes and said, "Xuan'er, let's go back early today. I'll prepare something nice for all of you."
By this point, Qing Shui was already far away. He helped the woman because he wanted to help out a mother and the woman was also kind-hearted. The recipes that he gave her were just some standard fare which would allow her to make some pretty tasty dishes. They could not be compared to his nourishing soups. They would taste good enough for people to crave but not for people to be jealous. She could probably reach the level of a head chef. In the worst case scenario, she could be a head chef for others but that wouldn't be too bad anyway.
If the recipe he gave her was too good, it might harm her instead of benefiting her.
After Qing Shui was full, he decided to walk around. He was previously in a normal residential area but he had now ventured to an area with luxurious residences.
"Today's the wedding of Dongfang Ye from the Dongfang Aristocrat Clan. They invited all family and friends of the family. We can go there to drink and eat all sorts of good food. Who would miss such an opportunity?" a middle-aged man commented shamelessly.
"Dong Yan, even though they mentioned that anyone above Xiantian can attend without an invitation, we just reached Xiantian, isn't that a little embarrassing?" A man about 30 years old asked.
"Yes. Let's find someone like us. If there are more of us, it won't be so embarrassing," the man called Dong Yan laughed.
The younger man was speechless but Qing Shui approached them with a smile.
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AST 858 – Attending the banquet，Dong Yan and Sun Yan
"Brothers, why don't you count me in?" Qing Shui looked like a Xiantian cultivator and perhaps even a low grade Xiantian cultivator if he did not show his actual abilities.
Dong Yan and the considerably handsome 30 year-old looked at Qing Shui and laughed.
This laughter seemed to have brought them together, as if they were birds of a feather.
"I am Sun Yan!" the handsome man smiled.
"I am Dong Yan. It's my pleasure to meet you!" the mild-mannered middle-aged man said smiling.
"I am Qing Shui. It's my pleasure to meet both of you," Qing Shui responded with a smile.
"Good. It is getting late, the banquet must be starting. Let's not delay any further!" Dong Yan grinned at the two other men.
They got into a beast carriage and it sped quickly along the wide roads towards the Dongfang residence, as it swept pass the changing scenery.
"Brothers, is the Dongfang Aristocrat Clan very rich and powerful?" Qing Shui was unsure if this particular Dongfang Aristocrat Clan was the one mentioned by the old man at the Golden Buddha Temple. However, seeing that they were in Dongfang City, he reckoned that this particular clan must still be very powerful and influential.
"Dongfang Aristocrat Clan is the biggest clan in Dongfang City, I'm sure you can tell from its name. They are kind and charitable and the people here in Dongfang City only have praise for them. We are going to the wedding banquet of a talented member of their fourth generation, Dongfang Ye," Dong Yan replied, smiling.
Qing Shui could tell from the man's tone that the Dongfang Aristocrat Clan had quite a good reputation. However, to Qing Shui, everyone had a reason to be good or bad. The reason wasn't important to him, even if their purpose was to boost their reputation, it was a good thing that they were being charitable.
People who deceived the public to gain reputation weren't the worst. The worst were those who appeared to be charitable but instead donated to themselves. Such actions are detestable. They may appear to be open and aboveboard but they only care about their own benefits, even to the extent that they could boldly justify their actions by declaring that other people should not reap the benefits of their efforts. These people were worse than the former. In other words, this was the difference between a poseur and someone truly despicable.
Qing Shui did not condemn them. It was a fact that many large clans in the World of the Nine Continent would usually bring benefits and advantages to the people around them. This was how their families established themselves in a particular city or country, gaining dominance in the region.
They reached the residence of the Dongfang Aristocrat Clan very quickly. It was a huge magnificent-looking manor which was located in a bustling district. Three of the men got down from the carriage and just when Qing Shui was about to pay, Dong Yan laughed, "How can we let you pay for the trip? Just wait and see."
Dong Yan walked up to the lavishly decorated gates. A middle-aged man walked up to him and smiled saying, "Sir, are you here to attend the banquet?"
"Yes, yes. May I ask if you work here?" Dong Yan smiled at the middle-age man.
"Yes, I am in-charge of some miscellaneous tasks," the man replied, still smiling.
"So you are the housekeeper? That's fantastic. You see, I came here in a hurry so I forgot to bring any money. The ride here was a little expensive. I'd heard that Dongfang Aristocrat Clan is very generous, do you think…"
The man gestured to one of the guards. That guard immediately ran to the beast carriage and paid for the trip and even gestured politely for the three men to enter.
Qing Shui was a little stunned by Dong Yan's antics. At that moment, many of the people who were entering and leaving the residence looked at the three men with contempt. Who would believe that these three men did not have the money to pay for their ride? Even though they were not well-dressed Xiantian cultivators not having enough money to pay for a carriage ride? What a joke…
Of course, there were people who found that little incident quite hilarious. With this, there were comments about Dongfang Aristocrat Clan's generosity and kindness. The housekeeper happily accepted these compliments on behalf of the clan.
Dong Yan did not show any hint of embarrassment, Sun Yan even held his head high, just like a proud cockerel… And, Qing Shui looked totally like an outsider…
The people around them seemed to be driven speechless by their behavior. Anyone would see them as a bunch of stingy people. They did not bring any congratulatory gifts, yet they even expected the Dongfang Aristocrat Clan to pay for their ride here. Who knows if they would need the family to pay for their trip back? If they did not have the money to come to this place, it was highly unlikely that they would have the money to go back…
"It is a disgrace to attend a banquet with such guests," a fat man sighed, shaking his head.
"That's right. Why would these random people attend the banquet? I wonder if they have a invitation?" an ugly young man with a monkey-like face added.
"Invitation? Do you think Dongfang Aristocrat Clan would send an invitation to such people?" that fat man replied, once again casting a look of disgust at the three men.
"Brother Qing Shui, do you know what a pig is?" Dong Yan laughed while he walked. Everyone could clearly hear his words.
"This question is quite difficult, please enlighten me, Brother Dong," Qing Shui asked, with a false look of seriousness on his face.
"Phish!" Just then, a young lady laughed when she heard Qing Shui's reply. That bell-like laughter was like a breeze in spring.
Dong Yan contemplated for a moment, "Pigs are omnivorous mammals. They are heavy, their limbs are stubby, their movements are slow and they're easy to rear but are stupid."
With this, laughter erupted from the crowd. Everyone knew who he was talking about and they looked at the fat man. The fat man was wearing a large silk coat and was definitely heavier than 500 jin. The man flushed red with anger as he stared at Dong Yan, unable to say a word.
Dong Yan then looked at the monkey-faced young man. Looking similarly as ugly, the monkey-faced young man quickly left the fat man once Dong Yan eyed him.
Qing Shui disliked such people who criticized others to display their superiority, that was the reason why he cooperated with Dong Yan to annoy that man. He could tell that they were rather successful when he saw that man's fuming face.
In the end, the man left with his tail between his legs.
Following the crowd, Qing Shui, Dong Yan and Sun Yan walked towards towards the manor. Just then, the beautiful young lady, who had laughed just some moments ago, approached them. "Uncle, that man is quite vengeful, you have to be careful."
"Young lady, thank you. We are just people of lowly status, he won't waste his time with us."
The residence of Dongfang Aristocrat Clan was quite extravagant. After all, they were the largest clan in Dongfang City, so this was nothing unusual. All corners of the residence were dazzling and well-decorated. Once again, the family members of the clan welcomed their guests.
They saw a large area with tables and chairs, that was where the banquet was held. There were many people already seated. There tables were filled with wine and dishes but everyone was busy talking.
Birds of a feather flock together, this was also how the people grouped themselves. The other purpose of the banquet was for the guests to network so banquets that are held by such large clans usually do not have empty seats.
"Look how lonely that fellow is, let's go over and chat with him. See, nobody is willing to sit with him. How pitiful," Dong Yan said, smiling.
Qing Shui laughed when he looked over. Dong Yan was actually referring to the same fat man they had angered. Oddly, the ugly skinny man was not with him.
As there were many people around, that comment did not go unnoticed. The fat man was so embarrassed that he even felt like dying. He almost wished that he could just dig a hole and hide himself in it. He wanted show-off by criticizing those men but he didn't expect such a situation. He couldn't even do anything against them. Nobody ever dares to cause any ruckus in Dongfong Aristocrat Clan's residence but he would never forgive those men.
Everyone around them knew that they were the three men who did not pay for their carriage ride. Humans are like that, they all like to watch a good show. The crowd watched them finding the situation hilarious.
"This fat brother looked for a table without others because he is afraid that there won't be enough food." Dong Yan's words almost made the fat man faint.
"Come. I haven't eaten since morning. Let's start eating first. I don't think the host will find fault with us." Dong Yan passed Qing Shui and Sun Yan each a pair of chopsticks.
They sat at the end seats of the banquet table. Even though there were no rules about eating. It was a fact that the banquet had not officially started. Besides, the people here did not come to the banquet to eat. With their statuses, they could eat whatever they wanted.
Qing Shui took the chopsticks. He was clueless as to how to react with these two people. He only followed their funny antics because he could sense that these two people were not really Xiantian cultivators. Just like him, they were hiding their true strength. Unfortunately, he only knew that they were very powerful and was unable to tell their actual capabilities accurately, especially Dong Yan.
People who could hide their actual strength from Qing Shui were definitely not ordinary. Furthermore, they even dared act in such a manner in Dongfang Aristocrat Clan, with no concern of how others viewed them.
"I knew it was you, younger brother Dong Yan when I heard that there was someone who couldn't pay for their carriage ride. Why didn't you tell us first?" A gallant, strong laughter came from the distance.
"Dongfang Third Elder!"
"Dongfang Third Elder!"
"Hi everybody. Just take a seat, eat whatever and enjoy the food. We are all friends here!" the man spoke with a straightforward tone, greeting everyone, giving a friendly impression.
Dongfang Third Elder's words stunned the other guests. He actually called the stingy man who didn't even pay for his own ride his brother.
Who was this man?
Just then, not far from them, cold sweat appeared on the fat man's forehead. He had ridiculed them just now, even though he did not say anything else after that. He could not believe that he even thought to seek revenge…
"This is my nephew's wedding. Of course, I came." Dong Yan stood giving a sheepish smile.
"Let's go. Please sit over there. My big brother and second brother will come over shortly. You should help yourself with the drinks." Dongfang Third Elder seemed very happy.
Qing Shui smiled, knowingly. Now everyone knew Dong Yan was no ordinary man. A person who Dongfang Third Elder acknowledged was definitely a somebody.
"I won't go over now. Let's meetup after the end of the banquet. I have some friends here," Dong Yan said, smiling at Dongfang Third Elder.
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