Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 592
592 - The Palace At The Bottom of The Lake, The Crystal Coffin
The two Martial Saint leveled elders were surprised to see her. They quickly bowed respectfully and greeted her!
The expression in their eyes exuded the profound respect they had for her. It was not just the typical respect out of fear towards the powerful, but more like a sincere respect.
’’Oh, the Residence of Sky Tyrant Lord's elders. Why are you all here?’’ The woman looked at the two old men in astonishment. Her eyes was a little moist as if she had remembered something.
’’Well, this.....’’ The two old men hemmed and hawed!
’’Oh, so the Qing Clan was the reason behind the Residence of Sky Tyrant Lord moving out in nearly full force about half a year ago?’’ The look on the woman's face quickly cooled down within a matter of seconds. Since the Zhongyuan Country and the Seven Stars Country were not that far apart, any movements from the Residence of Sky Tyrant Lord naturally wouldn't go unnoticed by the Duanmu Clan.
Lin Zhanhan, Qing Luo and the rest of the Qing Clan were a little bit confused. They didn't really know what was going on between these people so there was nothing they could do aside from watching by the side.
At this time, Lin Zhanhan came forward with a smile. ’’May I ask for the names of these two ladies...? These elders are the friends of Qing Clan, so they will be staying at the Qing Residence from now on. What brings the two of you here?’’
He had stepped in to save the two old men from embarrassment. When Lin Zhanhan saw the woman's facial expression earlier, he could feel that she seemed to be on Qing Clan's side.
’’Oh, that's not too bad. The Residence of the Sky Tyrant Lord is considered gone. These two made a good decision by choosing to stay here. They're old, so it's good to settle down a little. We are from the Central Continent. Qing Shui saved my daughter's life and mine. We are here to express our gratitude. May I know how to address you, old gentleman?’’ The woman said with a smile.
’’I am from the Lin Clan and I am Qing Shui's maternal grandfather. This is Qing Shui's mother......’’
Lin Zhanhan made simple introductions to the woman. He knew that this woman was definitely not an ordinary person since the manners of those two Grade Four Martial Saint cultivators were not fake. If they had come to express their gratitude, then this might very well be considered a good fortune.
’’It's a pleasure for Yu Ruyan to meet the old gentleman and madam!’’ The woman bowed respectfully towards Qing Luo and Qing Yi.
’’No need to be so formal!’’ Qi Yi was also someone who had her fair share of experience in situations like this. She quickly placed her hand on Yu Ruyan's arm.
’’If madam doesn't mind, may we call each other sister?’’ The woman smiled at Qing Yi.
The two old men dumbfoundedly watched the entire exchange. The woman's words and attitude had immediately made the two Martial Saints set on staying with the Qing Clan from now on without any second thoughts. Qing Shui was Lady Duanmu and her daughter's life savior. Judging from Yu Ruyan's personality, she would never allow anyone to harm the Qing Clan for as long as she lived.
But she was alive this time. The number of people who could kill her was very little, probably because those people were already eliminated by her. The Qing Clan would pretty much be well-fortified under her care.
’’Why would I? I am alright with it as long as you don't mind,’’ Qing Yi quickly replied.
’’Big Sister, from now on we shall be sisters,’’ Yu Ruyan said with a smile.
She then pulled her daughter who was standing beside her. ’’Lingshuang, from now on you should address her as Aunt Qing!’’
’’It's a pleasure for Lingshuang to meet Aunt Qing!’’
Duanmu Lingshuang greeted her respectfully. She would never be able to repay Qing Shui's kindness towards her. Her feelings of gratitude towards him came from the bottom of her heart. As the saying goes, love the house and its crow*, so she also had the same amount of deep gratitude towards Qing Yi.
[TL Note: Love someone and also care for the people and things related to him.]
’’No need to be formal. Here, take this. Aunt doesn't have anything valuable, so I hope you will not mind this,’’ Qing Yi took out a pair of earrings that Qing Shui had forged for her. She had never worn them and she didn't know why she happened to carry them with her today.
’’You should just accept what Aunt Qing's good will~!’’ Yu Ruyan smiled.
’’Thank you, Aunt Qing!’’ Duanmu Lingshuang thanked her with a smile before accepting the gift. Although her face was veiled, her smile could still be seen from those beautiful eyes.
’’Come, let's all go inside!’’
The big group of people walked towards the big hall of the Qing Residence. Yu Ruyan turned her head around and looked outside as if she wanted to say something, but she ended up not speaking.
Another long mountain range entered Qing Shui's view. However, there wasn't any trace of excitement on Qing Shui's face. This was because this was already the 132nd mountain range he had come across that looked fairly similar to the one depicted in his Treasure Map.
Nearly two months had passed again and he had already seen more than a hundred enormous mountain ranges. Every one of them had a varying length. The longest one took the Fire Bird ten full days to reach its other end with its top speed.
Qing Shui wasn't sure at this point if he could find the mountain range that he was looking for. His only hope was that the mountain range straddled horizontally across the Flowerfruit Mountain. That way, he wouldn't miss it while he forged ahead.
He apathetically traveled along the long mountain range to look for that Goddess Peak. Standing in the midair, he had completed scanned over a short distance on the right side first.
He no longer even felt disappointed when he didn't find the Goddess Peak that he had been searching for.
He immediately backtracked quickly to where he came from. On his way, he met three waves of beast groups. Qing Shui didn't want to find trouble so he took a detour to avoid them. He then continued to search the left side of the mountain range that stretched on endlessly.
’’Hmm, the height of the mountain range is gradually getting taller. Although the difference is very little, it can be clearly observed at a further distance,’’ Qing Shui looked at the far end of the mountain range that was covered by thick and dark green vegetations. It looked like a gigantic green meandering dragon from afar.
Three days went by in a flashed. Other than visiting the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal in between and practicing his Taichi Fists in the morning, he spent his remaining time searching for the Goddess Peak.
Although he had already reached the deeper parts of the Flowerfruit Mountain, there were even deeper parts further up ahead. However, Qing Shui's instinct told him that so-called rumor told him that the Goddess Peak shouldn't be situated in the innermost part of the Flowerfruit Mountain.
He calmly sped up ahead on the Fire Bird with his fastest speed along the winding mountain range and realized that these past three months had tempered his patience. He was able to deal with many things in a calm manner now.
Qing Shui's gaze was suddenly attracted by the mountain peak ahead. A precipice!
There was a statue that looked like a woman on the precipice. She seemed like she was gazing into the distance as if she was anticipating something. The outrageously lofty ancient tree beside her was unimaginably big and sturdy.
’’Damn, I've been wanting to see this scenery so bad that I'm starting to hallucinate,’’ Qing Shui shook his head and laughed at himself. He was prepared to leave after looking around for a bit because he had already reached the other end.
Qing Shui was waiting for his hallucination of the goddess statue to vanish, but it remained there. It was only then that he finally started to get excited.
’’Could it be here?’’
He leaped off in excitement and landed in front of the goddess statue. He had only accepted that everything was real the moment he felt the solidness of the goddess statue with his hands......
The stone statue was life-sized and had the appearance of a woman, although her facial features were vague. That didn't really matter now.
Looking around the precipice, this was the end of a very long meandering mountain range. On the other side of the precipice, the escarpment was covered by lush vegetation and there was a wilderness beyond it.
The vegetations growing on the escarpment on the other side was thriving and brimmed with exceptionally strong vitality. Qing Shui started trying to locate the treasure on his Treasure Map. Although he had found the Goddess Peak, the location of the treasure didn't seem like it would be easy to locate.
He placed his target on this goddess statue first, since this was the most conspicuous thing among all. At the same time, he expanded his spiritual sense. Every Gifted Earth Treasure would emit enormous waves of spiritual qi.
The stone statue didn't seem like it was any ordinary statue. Otherwise, it would be impossible for it to not show any signs corrosion after being weathered over the ages. After carefully observing for awhile, Qing Shui looked away in disappointment.
It was carved out of White Star Stone. This type of stone was very hard and was said to have a very powerful restoration ability. It was very suited for carving but had very little use outside of that.
An ancient tree that reached high into the sky......
Then there was the soil around him, vegetations across him and a three feet deep crater that were caused by the Mighty Elephant Stomp......
Another three days passed. Qing Shui had once again returned to the precipice in disappointment. He had searched high and low within the radius of a few li, but he still couldn't find the location of the treasure. He simply couldn't wrap his head around this.
Qing Shui randomly tossed a stone down the cliff. A clear and loud noise only echoed back after a quite a while. It was the sound of the stone dropping into water. If it wasn't for Qing Shui's sharp sense of hearing, he would have definitely missed that.
’’Oh, it wouldn't be down here right!?’’
He suddenly got excited as he summoned Fire Bird to fly him under the cliff. He also retrieved his Violet Gold divine Shield and Big Dipper Sword just in case the situation called for it.
The cliff was really steep. Although Qing Shui was already a Martial Saint who could fly, his abilities were unfortunately restricted on the Flowerfruit Mountain so he could only rely on the Fire Bird.
Fire Bird wasn't flying too fast but after fifteen minutes, Qing Shui saw an enormous lake below him. It was a dead valley surrounded by the mountains, a place that was difficult for flying birds to reach.
Qing Shui climbed off Fire Bird's back. However, he very quickly frowned when he felt the unusual atmosphere around here. It lacked vitality.
This place was like a manor that had been abandoned for over a few decades, centuries or even millennium. With no human or animals setting foot in the area, a type of yin qi, also known as death qi, would gradually be formed. A type of yang qi, also known as the qi of 'vitality', exists only in places where humans or animals lived and breathed.
His surroundings were bare and most importantly, there was no wind. When Qing Shui was halfway down the cliff, there were already no vegetations in sight. The surroundings were all bare except for this enormous lake that stood out like a sore thumb.
The water in the lake was a light blue. Qing Shui couldn't see any other living beings in the water, not even a single water plant. With the experiences he gained while treasure hunting at the Wolf King Hall, Qing Shui immediately took out the first Treasure Map.
The moment it was retrieved from the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal, every inch of the lake's surface and the Treasure Map in his hands glowed white. Then he could feel a wave of suction force coming from within the lake.
Qing Shui's facial expression changed. Although he had a hunch that the treasure was at the bottom of the lake, he was still anxious about the potential dangers that lurked in the area unbeknownst to him.
Qing Shui wanted to resist the force, but his body wasn't able to muster up the strength to oppose it so he was immediately dragged into the lake......
It was only an instant but it felt like it lasted for a hundred or even ten thousand years had passed before Qing Shui snapped open his eyes and observed his current surroundings in astonishment. The scenery around him looked like the Underwater Crystal Palace that he had seen through the television screen countless times in his previous world......
The floor that was made of crystals and colored glass looked as if they had always been cleansed by water. A splendid and grand palace that exuded a majestic aura sat just a few hundred meters up ahead. The plants around him looked like they were out of a dreamland, but also more like pieces of fine artistic work.
He felt the surroundings were surreal as he slowly walked towards the palace while observing the area in awe. The scenery around him was something that should only exist in paintings.
Qing Shui felt like he took an eternity to walk down this path. But right at this moment, he jumped at the sight of a gigantic demonic beast that had appeared in front of the palace's entrance.
He wanted to immediately run away from it, but he knew very well that if the beast had intended to harm him, he wouldn't have been able to escape even if he tried. The only option he had now was to be prepared to enter the Realm of Violet Jade Immortal at any moment.
The demonic beast that had suddenly appeared had an enormous silver head of a beast that looked like a snake yet appeared more formidable. It had a pair of fish eyes and a gigantic body of a turtle that was about the size of a small mountain and there were some simple and odd-looking patterns on its large turtle shell. It was exuding an aura that Qing Shui had never felt before.
The gigantic turtle stared at him. A look of surprise reflected in those large fish eyes. Qing Shui didn't flee immediately because he saw its eyes that were filled with an indescribable look of vicissitude and humanity.
Other than the look of vicissitude in his eyes, there were also loneliness, disappointment, and worries......
Qing Shui had never expected that a demonic beast was capable of displaying such a complicated expression. This made him felt more intimidated by its formidable strength.
’’Do you need any help?’’ Qing Shui felt like he was an idiot for asking the demonic beast.
When Qing Shui was mocking himself, he didn't expect this old turtle to nod its enormous head. He was instantly shocked. Only a beast tamer or a beast that had a similar connection like the connection between the Diamond Gigantic Elephant and Qing Shui could easily communicate through telepathy like this. This was his first time meeting a demonic beast that could directly understand the human language.
Qing Shui stood there dumbly for a moment before lifting his head. He realized that the gigantic old turtle had already stepped aside from the palace door, as if it was allowing Qing Shui to enter!
To be honest, he was still a little worried. Who knew that awaited him within the palace? But when he remembered the Treasure Map in his hands, he clenched his teeth and moved forward. One can not expect to entrap a wolf if he is not willing to sacrifice the life of his child*.
*TL Note: One can hardly expect to accomplish a major task if he is not willing to take risks.
When he arrived in front of that enormous crystal door, he calmed his emotions then reached out to push open the crystal door slowly. In this brief time, all he had been thinking about was where the old turtle had come out from.
The crystal door was pushed opened soundlessly. A wave of rich spiritual qi immediately assailed his nostrils, jolting him. This was an empty great palace hall.
There was a crystal platform with a throne facing the palace entrance at the top part. Along the wall, there were many realistic engraving of sea beasts, enormous fishes, water snakes, turtles, and prawns......
Each of them were so realistic that they looked as if they were alive. Most importantly, they were very gorgeous. Other than gorgeous, they also looked ferocious! Every single one of them looked like they had flesh and blood and even their well-shaped skeleton frame could be felt to their tiniest details. Their eyes and expression seemed rather spiritual.
’’These drawings have far exceeded the level of drawing bones. They should be at the level of drawing souls......’’
By the time Qing Shui snapped back to reality he had already lost track of time. He had indeed indulged himself quite a bit on these aesthetic works and even felt that his state of drawing had been raised immensely. After all, the [Hundred Forms of the Tiger] was only about the expression of a tiger. Looking at these drawings here could bring about great benefits to him.
His gaze suddenly stopped below the stone staircase up ahead of this great hall. An enormous crystal coffin unexpectedly laid there.....
Qing Shui didn't notice it until now. He felt odd about his sudden discovery. Who actually laid within this crystal coffin in such a splendid and majestic palace?