Li Qingshan opened his mouth and said: “I’m called Li Qingshan. May I ask the elder sister’s honored and distinguished name?” He wanted to call her young lady, but although she was n.o.ble, she was absolutely not one of those young ladies from great families growing inside their boudoirs. Then he changed his mind and wanted to call her young girl, but although she was young, she didn’t suit those two words, or rather those two words didn’t deserve to be used in addressing her.

Perhaps fairy 1 would have been the best choice, but even if he’d never held any sensitivity toward that word before, it still would have felt somewhat like lowering his head. In the end he could only call her an awkward “elder sister,” just like Xu Xian first meeting with the White Maiden over the Western Lake.2

Hua Chengzan really held some admiration for Li Qingshan. Back then he hadn’t even been able to string a coherent sentence together. This mountain boy’s guts really weren’t small.

“I’m called Gu Yanying. Do you know why I have called you here, little brother Qingshan.” Gu Yanying lightly waved an elaborate jade-ribbed folding fan in her hand. Her smile carried a little witty amus.e.m.e.nt, but her eyes seemed very distant.

Little brother Qingshan?! Li Qingshan would rather martial artists call him “Tiger Descending the Mountains” for a lifetime instead. But then he thought that he was only fifteen to sixteen years old. Maybe he really was the little brother type in her eyes.

The sorrow was even heavier in the depths of Hua Chengzan’s eyes.

w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+’s eyebrows bunched tightly together. How was Li Qingshan deserving of her calling him little brother. But he’d always known her temperament was free and she did as she wished, so there wasn’t much he could say. Then again, on second thoughts, he wouldn’t have had the qualification to sit face to face with her either if not for her temperament.

Li Qingshan pondered which things he had on him that people were aware of and were also worth taking out. There was only the spirit ginseng: “You also came for the spirit ginseng?” If so he could only gift the spirit ginseng way. It wasn’t because of l.u.s.t controlling his mind, but because his strength wasn’t good enough. Although he was possessed of an adoring pa.s.sion, he still wasn’t a love-struck fool that would casually discard away his own dignity and principles. If Gu Yanying had truly come to s.n.a.t.c.h the spirit ginseng like the others, then her image in his mind would have been greatly lowered.

w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+ laughed despite himself. Hua Chengzan laughed so much he’d already fallen down.

Gu Yanying was both quite angry and quite amused. She said with a pull at the corner of the lips: “Who would want something wet with your saliva!” The spirit ginseng precious as lifeblood for those first-grade masters of the martial world was merely a thing tainted with saliva in her eyes.

“The drink is ready!” w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+ had the timing down and lifted the small cauldron to the table. Li Qingshan saw ten thousand beams of spiritual light shoot out the instant the cauldron’s lid was lifted. It reminded him of a certain anime from his former world.

The rich fragrance of the wine permeated the air. The acc.u.mulated snow melted down all around, retreating back. The Huangshan pine beside them clearly stretched upward and became increasingly more verdant.

Li Qingshan’s bones and muscles all seemed to become a little lighter all over his body. His true qi suddenly became lively. It was easy to imagine what would happen if one drank this wine. Compared with spiritual wine simply soaked from the spirit ginseng, this drink was more than ten times better.

Li Qingshan’s face flushed red. He felt he truly seemed like an ignorant villager at this moment, guarding a piece of pickled pig meat as if it were a first-cla.s.s delicacy. He felt so embarra.s.sed he wanted to find a hole and hide in it. He actually wished she’d really come to s.n.a.t.c.h the spirit ginseng instead.

Gu Yanying sniffed gently and said with a smile: “A hundred years old Bodhi3 brew! Old w.a.n.g you’re considerate!”

w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+ said: “I knew the captain likes alcohol, so I forcefully dug out some from old brother Tian. Among the mult.i.tude of people, farming families are still the most expert at brewing wine.”

Then he personally poured the wine into the pot. He threw a glare at Hua Chengzan: “Why aren’t you pouring the wine yet?”

Huang Chengzan stood up and poured two cups of wine. w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+ said: “What about yourself?” Hua Chengzan chuckled with a “xi xi.” He also poured a cup for himself.

Gu Yanying said with a faint smile: “Seeing is sharing. Little brother Qingshan, you come have a taste too!” But she actually ignored Feng Zhang to the side.

Feng Zhang’s ears had stood up when he smelled the wine’s fragrance. It was as if a hundred claws were scratching at his heart. One could say that the spirit ginseng wouldn’t have much effect on him, but this was the Bodhi wine from the legends!

He only needed one cup, one cup! Then he could break through the realm of second level qi refining and reach the third level. But no one actually mentioned him. He didn’t dare blame Gu Yanying and the other two, and he could only hate on Li Qingshan until his teeth gnashed in anger.

Li Qingshan bent his head down and didn’t say a word, but Hua Chengzan had actually stuffed a cup of wine into his hands already: “Come come come, count your lucky stars. Usually even I can’t drink this kind of good stuff.”

Li Qingshan looked face down at the golden liquid inside the cup. He realized that he would seem too petty if he still refused at this moment. So he lifted his head and drained the wine from the cup in one gulp.

“Hey!” Hua Chengzan was already too late to stop him, while w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+ had never looked straight into Li Qingshan’s eyes from beginning to end. He had merely been conjecturing as to why Gu Yanying had made him come, and even let him drink this precious Bodhi wine.

Gu Yanying had absolute no interest in stopping him. She mere smiled lightly with the expression of watching a good play.

Li Qingshan had no time at all to distinguish the savors inside the drink. A ball of scorching spiritual energy cracked open inside his stomach, cras.h.i.+ng sideways and bas.h.i.+ng straight on all over his four limbs and hundred bones. His own true qi was entirely unable to play any hindering role in the slightest.

Not good. The spiritual energy contained within this drink was even above his imagination. The liquor’s aura and spiritual light that had radiated outward turned out to be merely from the most superficial layer.

Feng Zhang was very happy inside. Country hick! You could only slowly savor this Bodhi wine. If you drank it down too abruptly, the powerful spiritual strength would damage the dantian and the meridians, just like a flood wrecking the river’s dikes.

But Li Qingshan’s body didn’t explode and die, because he’d never cultivated what dantian or meridian to begin with. Spiritual light glowed all over his body as he strove to mobilize his own true qi in order to gobble and transform the spiritual energy. Moreover, his body was also absorbing the spiritual energy like a sponge, gradually suppressing the riot it caused.

Gu Yanying stared at Li Qingshan, her eyes like a falcon’s. An ancient copper coin vibrated at high frequency on the fingertips of her left hand, coagulating in the wake of her vision. Li Qingshan felt a terrifying sensation, as if his own mind and soul had entirely been laid bare.

Li Qingshan completely digested the spiritual energy inside his body after a moment. Gu Yanying’s vision dispersed thereupon, and she slanted her head to the side, seeming to ponder about something.

Hua Chengzan sighed in relief. It looked like body tempering wasn’t entirely useless after all.

w.a.n.g Pus.h.i.+ was a little curious. What degree of power did the spiritual qi contained inside the Bodhi brew possess? It wouldn’t be strange even if it allowed someone to directly promote to the third level of qi refining, but there wasn’t any shred of indication Li Qingshan was about to break through. He still stayed at the first level of qi refining, with merely a great strengthening of his true qi.

If he hadn’t also drunken a cup, he would have had suspicions whether this Bodhi brew was fake, or whether its age was insufficient.

Li Qingshan sighed in relief. He cupped his hands in greeting toward the three of Gu Yanying’s and said: “Many thanks!” He hadn’t expected he wouldn’t lose the spirit ginseng, and would even get a cup of wine to drink instead. But he still somehow felt some nagging unhappiness in his heart.

“How about it, now you still feel I came to s.n.a.t.c.h your spirit ginseng? Little brother Qingshan?” Gu Yanying poked at his sore spot, her face carrying a trace of joking amus.e.m.e.nt. Li Qingshan was very young but he had a face full of a solemn appearance. It was truly very interesting.

Li Qingshan straightened his back and said: “I’m only a mountain village kid, there’s no helping my ignorance and lack of experience. But what I don’t understand is, since the great figures of the Eagle Wolf Guard are so outstanding, why did you allow the Black Wind Camp to cause misfortune for so many years, why did no one sort it through?” There was a faint flavor of interrogation, interrogating them on why they held a sinecure, why they occupied their positions but didn’t think about the duties that came with said positions.

1. Fairy: 仙子, not the small winged fairy from occidental folklore, but a woman possesses the qualities an immortal: n.o.ble, wise, beautiful, elegant, refined, able, etc etc.

2. Xu Xian and the White Maiden, or Madam White Snake, are central characters of the Legend of the White Snake, one of the most famous folklore stories in China.

3. The Bodhi Tree is the sacred fig tree under which Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became Buddha in the legends. The name has come to apply to sacred fig trees in general. Often depicted as possessing some kind of magical power in Chinese fantasy/xianxia stories.

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