Little An’s expression was both greatly happy and a little vacant at the same time.

Li Qingshan made another search of the witch’s house. Little An followed behind him like a little sycophant. He suddenly pulled on his trouser legs and pointed to a place.

There Li Qingshan found a hidden spot in the wall. There was a stack of papers inside, all of them silver notes. He’d already vaguely heard that this world also had money presses, but it was the first time he saw genuine silver notes in his life.

The witch had probably buried the silver during the prime of her life, but then she became old and couldn’t possibly go dig the soil again, so she exchanged those years’ plunders into light silver notes and kept them in this hidden box. There were probably also several hundred taels. She was already so wealthy, but unexpectedly she still went head to head with him for the sake of a mere boar, then ended up dead.

In the hidden box’s bottom, Li Qingshan finally found the thing he wanted to find. This was a page, and it was filled with tiny handwritten characters. At a rough glance, it was precisely the technique to refine souls and control ghosts. This page’s edges were jagged and uneven, as if it had been torn off from a book.

Li Qingshan had caught his first glimpses of the road to cultivation from the [Bull Demon Strong Fist], and he was filled with curiosity for other techniques. He didn’t expect the witch’s strange methods to actually come from a book page. If she had the entire book, then he would probably have kicked the bucket in this place today.

But if the witch had the whole book in hand, she probably wouldn’t have holed herself in this Crouching Bull Village for half her life. The witch wasn’t originally someone from the Crouching Bull Village, she had suddenly come and settled here several decades ago. No one knew her origins, and Li Qingshan also had no way to know where she obtained this book page.

However, there was still a silver note under this page, unexpectedly worth a huge thousand taels. This silver note was extremely old and yellowed. You could see at a glance it was aged and was absolutely not something she earned after coming to the Crouching Bull Village. The witch’s antecedents became even more impossible to unravel.

Li Qingshan asked Little An: “Do you recognize this thing?” He felt that this might have some relation with Little An’s past history.

Little An didn’t say anything, not shaking nor nodding his head.

Li Qingshan knew that this exceeded the scope of what he could answer. He naturally accepted everything in this box without any reservation, but when he was about to go out, he felt again Little An tug on his trouser leg.

Li Qingshan turned his head back. He saw the kid look at him with a face full of confusion, like a child who’d lost his way, looking unspeakably pitiful. His heart became soft and he squatted down, saying in a gentle voice: “You don’t have anywhere to go?”

Little An nodded. Li Qingshan said: “Then you can keep me company first!” So saying he opened the porcelain jar, knowing that the ghost didn’t dare to move under the sunlight.

Little An exposed a shy smile and flew inside the porcelain jar.

Li Qingshan took the jar and went back home. He buried the porcelain jar behind the thatched house, then piled up a tiny tomb.

The green bull came back and asked: “Success?”

Li Qingshan said: “What’s difficult about a trivial old witchy wench !” Then he displayed to it this time’s spoils of war. He showed the bull that book page and asked: “Does this count as a supernatural technique? Can I cultivate it?”

“This broken page naturally doesn’t amount to anything, but this page comes from a supernatural skill called [Dark Shade Ghost Control Technique]. I don’t know how it fell into her hand. There’s mostly no benefit in cultivating this kind of incomplete things. Have you never heard about not eating more than you can chew? First cultivate the Nine Bulls and Two Tiger to some success, we’ll talk about the rest later!” The green bull glanced at him and immediately revealed the origin of this page.

“Then out of the [Dark Shade Ghost Control Technique] and the [Strength of Nine Bulls and Two Tigers], which one is the strongest?”

“It would have been difficult to say if it were the original version of the [Strength of Nine Bulls and Two Tigers]. Although the [Dark Shade Ghost Control Technique] doesn’t put emphasis on training the body, it can gather a great group of ghost types and submerge the enemy with numbers. It’s a good battle skill. If you can’t defeat someone who cultivates this technique in one move , it’s very easy to be drowned in a sea of ghosts.”

“Then what about the strength of demon bulls and demon tigers I’m cultivating?”

“Of course it’s much better.”

Li Qingshan calmed his mind and no longer hesitated. He put this book page away.

The rest of the spoils were merely silver and money. Li Qingshan originally believed the green bull wouldn’t care about those mortal things, but he didn’t expect the green bull to say heavily when he heard: “Very good, this is truly the most important thing compared to that broken page!”

Faced with a supernatural skill it showed contempt, but it put such heavy emphasis on silver. Although Li Qingshan had already experienced the bull’s teaching about “eating meat and drinking wine,” he still couldn’t help be surprised. This brother bull was really profane enough.

The green bull saw what he was thinking about: “Have you never heard the four words “Law Companion Wealth Land1”? Those are all indispensable conditions for cultivation. The money is even ranked first.”

Li Qingshan nodded: “You need financial foundations for anything.” If he didn’t have the green bull providing the most important food, he’d have no way to cultivate even if he was pregnant with miraculous scriptures: “However, it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of things I can spend money on!” This pile of more than a thousand taels of silver was a huge fortune. He could survive for a long time if he only needed to buy wine and meat to eat.

The green bull said: “You’re always asking me how long it’ll be before you can cultivate the [Bull Demon Strong Fist] into shape.”

“That’s right, but you never want to answer.”

“I can answer you now. With your current cultivation speed, without any incident I’m afraid it’d take you ten years to reach the first layer of the [Bull Demon Strong Fist] and cultivate to the strength of one bull!”

“Ten years!” Li Qingshan was stunned into opening his mouth wide.

“This is only an optimistic evaluation. If you meet with a bottleneck then it’s even more difficult to say, the more powerful the technique the more difficult it is to cultivate. Do you take daoist techniques for your peasant martial arts, like you can randomly practice it and succeed like just like that, and afterwards you’ll become unmatched under the sky? Wake up!”

It was as if someone had poured a bucket of cold water over Li Qingshan, and his joy at killing the witch was cleanly swept aside: “In that case, if I want to cultivate the [Strength of Nine Bulls and Two Tigers] to perfection, I’d need at least a hundred years?” He couldn’t imagine what he would look like in a hundred years.

“Wrong, supernatural techniques are more difficult the higher you go. It wouldn’t be surprising if you can’t succeed after three or five hundred years. But you don’t need to worry too much, every time you reach another layer, your body’s primordial essence will be reinforced and your life will naturally be extended.”

“How’s this any good!” Li Qingshan recognized that his perseverance was out of the ordinary, and he persevered every day training without interruption, but if he had to persist for several hundred years, he’d become crazy just thinking about it.

The green bull saw that its psychological attack had more or less reached its goal, and made an expression of “kid, now you know how hard it is” then said: “If you want to shorten the time, the simplest way falls on the word “Wealth.””

Not caring about Li Qingshan’s expression, a list flew into Li Qingshan’s hand. Several dozen kinds of herbal ingredients were written on the list: “This is?”

“It’s to boil soup and make wine. Even mortals understand this trick. It doesn’t matter if some ingredients are there or not, there’s only one critical component that can absolute not be missing.”

“Ginseng!” Li Qingshan already saw the ingredient at the top of the list.

This was probably the spiritual herb most commonly seen and easiest to obtain in the world. It was nicknamed “King of a hundred” and it was able to greatly nourish the original qi. In Chinese medicine, there was a soup to wake up the dead, and when you poured it at the moment of death it could make someone recover enough to pa.s.s on his testament. In reality it was merely ginseng soup.

“It’s precisely ginseng.”

1. Taoist saying: the four things needed for cultivation, namely a technique/law/scripture, companions to cultivate with, wealth for resources, and an environment to cultivate in.

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