The Ling Family gathered around a blazing bonfire, merrily drinking some fine alcohol while devouring chunks of roasted meat.
—They had long since parted ways with Liu Yan and Gao Yu.
Back in the forest, due to the appearance of the Silver Winged Demon Wolves, Shattered Ice Manor was soundly defeated and lost god knows how many men, whereas they easily exited the forest and entered Frost Mist Mountain without any further incidents.
The moment they reached Frost Mist Mountain, Qin Lie and his group parted ways with Liu Yan and Gao Yu. Gao Yu returned to the Gao family, whereas Liu Yan had to go to Nebula Pavilion to report on everything that had happened in Celestial Wolf Mountain. Ling Yushi and the others, however, were going home.
All three sides were headed along a different path.
“Brother Liu really is a pretty cool guy, eh? What a boon it is for us that he would ignore all that loot from Shattered Ice Manor! Haha, I got about ten Rank Three spirit stones and a few Spirit Recovering Pills. It’s such a shame though that I couldn’t get a spirit artifact.” Ling Xiao grinned as he ate his meat.
“Hmph! Those Shattered Ice Manor bastards were all killed by the Silver Winged Demon Wolves, and Liu Yan had no part in it at all, so why would these spoils have anything to do with him? Of course he should not have the audacity to intervene!” Ling Xing scolded with a cold face. “If it wasn’t for Qin Lie, the rest of them would have found it hard pressed to escape death. You have nothing to thank them for at all!”
“You’re right. If it wasn’t for Qin Lie, we would’ve long been dead,” Ling Xiao also agreed with a sigh.
When the Ling Family first departed, Ling Xing and Ling Xiao were the two people who were the most opposed to Ling Yushi bringing Qin Lie along.
They just couldn’t find it in themselves to accept Qin Lie, whom they believed might become a burden to the team, so they would constantly take shots at him along the way.
Ling Yushi had scolded them multiple times because of this matter, but without success, considering how their attitudes didn’t change at all.
However, when they set off for the journey back home, the duo had become Qin Lie’s greatest fans. One might say that their attitudes had done a complete one-eighty.
Qin Lie had won their respect and their heartfelt admiration with his own transformation.
None of this had escaped Ling Yushi’s eyes as a smile touched her lips and her heart filled with joy.
“I’m full.” Qin Lie nodded and stood up to his feet, wiping the oily corner of his mouth with his sleeves and smiled. “I’ll go ahead and find a place to cultivate. Do ignore me, and please take your time with the drinks.”
“You can’t go until you finish this wineskin!” Ling Feng yelled while smiling and tossed over a wineskin.
“Ling Feng! Seriously, Qin Lie is only fifteen years old. Can you refrain from pouring him drinks all the time? Do you think he is an alcoholic like you guys are?” Ling Yushi rolled her eyes at Ling Feng, warmly looked at Qin Lie, and said softly, “Ignore them…”
“You sure are a protective one First Miss! Qin Lie aside, even you and Ling Ying have drunk quite a bit of alcohol, haven’t you? Aren’t you underestimating him too much?” Ling Feng laughed loudly and shot Qin Lie a slanted look while goading, “Am I right, Qin Lie?”
“Since Big Brother Ling has given the word, naturally I’ll have to drink this,” Qin Lie said helplessly. He could only pick up the wineskin and, with a “gulp,” drink deeply while arching his head. His actions were both bold and unrestrained.
“Enough! They’ve already forced you to drink so much, so you aren’t allowed to drink any further!” Ling Yushi’s brows were slightly knitted together as she snatched the wineskin with her jade-like hands, then glared at the rest of the crowd while exclaiming, “And you guys will stop forcing him to drink!”
“Of course we’ll stop after this one First Miss, but the leftover liquor… has to be finished,” Ling Xiao laughed strangely. “Of course, if there is someone who’s willing to finish it for him, we’re also fine with that, right guys?”
The crowd realized Ling Xiao’s intentions and laughed along while many nodded in agreement.
“I…” Beside Ling Feng, Ling Ying also got excited when she saw the commotion and was about to stand up with a smile.
“Fine! I’ll drink for him!”
Ling Yushi cut off Ling Ying’s words right away. With a small blush underneath Qin Lie’s surprised gaze, she cocked her head, put her lips to the mouth of the wineskin, and began taking small sips repeatedly; her posture was both elegant and attractive.
Everyone exploded into applause as their smiles turned more and more merry when they looked at Qin Lie and Yushi teasingly.
Ling Ying secretly regretted it on the inside when she saw that she was one step too slow, and she hmphed lightly with a dissatisfied pout.
As Qin Lie watched Ling Yushi drink the liquor that he had just drunk without the slightest reservation at all, he felt the slightest ripple in his heart.. At this moment, he thought that she looked more and more beautiful and exuberated an aura of unspeakable attractiveness.
“Are you satisfied?” Finishing the rest of the liquor, with her cheeks completely red, Ling Yushi rolled her eyes at her clansmen and turned to speak to Qin Lie gently, “Just ignore these bastards and go. Do whatever you need to.”
Qin Lie nodded with a smile and left as advised towards a faraway pond.
Before long, he arrived at a large tree with crisscrossing roots and took out the tens of Fire Crystals Liu Yan had gifted him, the Green Wing Axe, and Qin Shan’s sculpture, pondering while rubbing the bottom of his chin.
Before long, he had lit up a Fire Crystal and the flames burned blazingly. The axe head of the low level Green Wing Axe was propped on top of the crimson flames.
After a long while, the axe head began to turn red, and Qin Lie reached out his right hand and pointed at its cheeks from afar.
His spirit energy seeped out, and his mind energy flowed within. He immediately made a connection with the Green Wing Axe, and while he felt out the simplistic Spirit Gathering diagram inside the axe, he also paid close attention to the flow of mind energy, capturing even the tiniest changes of the spirit lines within…
Previously, after he used his all his power to help Liu Yan fix his Hexagonal Shield, both his mind and spirit energy were almost completely exhausted. When he recovered using the the Spirit Recovering Pill, he realized that both his mind and spirit energy had increased by a certain amount.
It was a memorable moment which was why he wanted to try it again and see if he could increase his power through repairing the Green Wing Axe.
“Only by improving my cultivating and breaking through can my mind energy increase steadily as well. Mind energy is the key to unlocking my sealed memories, and if I want to remember what happened before I was ten years old, I must continue to better myself and breakthrough to the next realm! What was I like before I was ten years old, who are my parents, and are they dead or still alive? I must have an answer to all of that!”
While Qin Lie was in quiet thought, he began conducting his spirit energy towards the twisted knot inside the axe’s spirit diagram, ready to fix it.
While his thoughts were still in a jumble, he accidentally broke a tiny spirit thread. Then he saw the Spirit Gathering diagram actually collapse immediately. The spirit network was completely tangled together, causing the spirit energy to become unbalanced which suddenly destroyed the Spirit Gathering diagram.
It all happened in an instant, and there was nothing he could do to save it. When he realized the problem, it was already too late.
Originally the Green Wing Axe’s components were already damaged by his thunder, so even if he did fix the spirit diagram, it would not be able to unleash its full power. He didn’t do it to fix the Green Wing Axe but rather to cultivate. The Green Wing Axe was completely useless now, but it was nothing to feel sorry about either. He simply treated it as a failed case of reparation.
“It appears that I cannot lose concentration for even an instant while I’m repairing a spirit artifact or drawing a spirit diagram. No matter how miniscule the mistake, it could cause the entire construction to collapse and destroy the spirit artifact as well,” Qin Lie’s thought deeply. At this point, he began congratulating himself for actually succeeding the first time when he assisted Liu Yan by fixing his spirit artifact.
Since the Green Wing Axe was broken, he then picked up Qin Shan’s wooden sculpture. As he began probing about with his mind energy, he felt a surge of quiet surprise.
Previously, when the Silver Winged Demon Wolves had attacked them, he had injected an insane amount of thunder and lightning energy into the wooden sculpture. He had thought that its components might be damaged by the violent thunder and lightning energy…
The truth was different.
His probes revealed that, not only were the wooden sculpture’s components not affected whatsoever, even the “artifact’s” interior structures were perfectly intact!
He didn’t know whether it was because the wooden sculpture was adaptive to the injection of lightning powers or that this “artifact” was of enough high rank and could thus endure the destructive powers of lightning. At any rate, the wooden sculpture had no problems whatsoever.
“If this wooden sculpture truly was made by Grandpa, then his artifact forging skills… must be unbelievably superb!”
After a moment’s thought, Qin Lie realized that the current him still could not understand the complex spirit diagrams inside the sculpture and therefore did not dare to change anything on his own. He had no choice but to safely put away the sculpture once more.
He sat down, held his breath, focused his mind, and began channeling Heavenly Thunder Eradication, all while using Spirit Recovering Pills to gather spirit energy.
After an unknown amount of time, he gradually woke up from cultivation and looked up towards the pure white moon, frowning. “There is thunder and lightning energy inside my acupoints and my spirit energy couldn’t get through it. In this case, wouldn’t it be impossible to cultivate the penetration of my acupoints and achieve the eighth level of Refinement?”
Eariler, he gathered spirit energy and tried to break through his acupoints only to find that every single one had thunder and lightning energy inside. All the thunder and lightning energy quickly formed a barrier that prevented the rush of spirit energy.
He had tried many acupoints and all of them returned the same result; spirit energy was completely blocked off.
This could be counted as the first barrier he had ever faced on his path of cultivation. He needed to break through this barrier if he wanted to ascend to a higher realm and push his power to new heights.
“Splash splash splash!”
It was at this moment that he suddenly heard the sound of water splashing in the pond beside him.
The huge tree Qin Lie was by was right beside the pond. In the first place, he was cultivating from behind the tree roots facing away from the pond, so he didn’t notice anything happening inside the pond at all. Now that he had heard something peculiar, he then poked his head out around the tree and gazed at the pond.
A single glance alone caused a great shudder, and Qin Lie felt all the blood in his body rush to his head.
Under the bright moonlight and inside the clear pond water was a white as cream naked body, whose beautiful back had just suddenly appeared right before his eyes!
That thin waist, that cloud-like hair hanging across her shoulders, those long, graceful legs, and those peach-like butt cheeks… Qin Lie saw everything. He lost his cool in an instant, and his eyes became hot. Even his breathing was gradually turning heavier and heavier.
Qin Lie shouted in his heart. He only needed to look once at that slightly thin figure to know who the beautiful woman was.
Previously, Ling Yushi was bathing inside the pond. Once she finished washing her body and swam over from deeper part of the pond just now, she stood up with her back towards Qin Lie, and facing towards the center of the pond, she said, “I’m done washing, so I’ll be going back first. Take your time.”
“I’m almost done,” came Ling Ying’s voice from further inside the pond.
Startled, Qin Lie looked behind Ling Yushi towards the deeper part of the pond, and only then did he noticed Ling Ying’s little head on the surface of the water, glittering under the moonlight.
He immediately realized that the two girls must have come to the pond to bathe together after the bonfire had concluded. It’s just that he didn’t realize that they had come there because he was in the state of Thoughtless Tranquility, and since he was behind the tree, Ling Yushi and Ling Ying also didn’t notice him.
“Okay. Then I’ll go up and change into my clothes,” Ling Yushi casually replied. She then turned around and began walking over from the pond.
Qin Lie shuddered again as he dazedly watched Ling Yushi, who was facing directly towards him, with his mind completely blank.
Ling Yushi was completely oblivious to the fact that there was someone in the vicinity. She was busy wiping the water droplets off her body and her soaked long hair with a towel. Her full and round breasts, her perfectly flat stomach, that little bush right between her beautiful legs… Qin Lie could see everything!
She walked straight to the where their clothes were placed not too far away, and just as she picked up some silken undergarments and put it on, she heard the sound of a person gulping.
“Who is it?” Ling Yushi’s expression turned as she exclaimed softly, and without a second thought, she dashed towards the origin of the sound like lightning.
It was only then that Qin Lie came to his senses behind the tree as he quickly bowed his head, but unfortunately, it was already too late…
Ling Yushi’s beautiful eyes were filled with evil. She raised her hands, brimming with a silver light and a murderous charge, and was about to strike down the offender with all her might.
When she saw that the person behind the tree was actually Qin Lie, she suddenly froze and a cry escaped her lips. In an instant, her cheeks turned completely red with embarrassment, and although her shining left hand was still held high in the air she just couldn’t bring it down on Qin Lie.
“First Miss, are you talking to someone?” At this moment, Ling Ying’s voice also came over. “I’m also finished. I’m coming up right now.”
Hearing her words, Ling Yushi became dumbfounded for a moment, but she instantly realized that the moment Ling Ying climbed up, she would see her completely wet next to Qin Lie, and Qin Lie too… would see an equally naked Ling Ying.
To prevent Ling Ying from noticing them, in a rush, she grit her teeth and shrunk right behind the tree and pressed herself tightly against Qin Lie’s body. That beautiful face of hers looked almost red enough to drip blood.