Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 745-746
AST 745 - Luan Luan's Ten Earth Devouring Mice, Peace
Even though Qing Shui knew that it was important for everyone to have their coming of age ceremony, keeping it quiet and staying low-keyed had a huge part to do with Qing Shui. Today, once the coming of age ceremony was done, Yu Chang would have been an adult.
Qing Shui didn't tell any outsiders about it except for a few people from Heavenly Palace. However, a lot of people turned up today and gave them a lot of presents. At the time when Luan Luan had her coming of age ceremony, not as many people turned up. However, Qing Shui had a feeling that it had a lot to do with last time. It was because they found out from last time that his children were already having their coming of age ceremony, that was why they wouldn't want to miss out on Yu Chang's coming of age ceremony.
Do not hit the smiling guy's face. Qing Shui naturally had to welcome them. Only by doing so would everyone be happy. Originally, Qing Shui didn't really care about these things but he wasn't against them either. It was still really great to have more people celebrating his children's coming of age ceremonies. Otherwise, he wouldn't have let people from Heavenly Palace attend it.
After Yu Chang's coming of age ceremony was done, Qing Shui let out a sigh of relief. He was worried that he couldn't make it for her coming of age ceremony. Luckily, he managed to make it in time.
Qing Shui remembered it all along.
"Daddy, I'm going to be an adult in the future." Yu Chang hugged Qing Shui and smiled happily.
Yu Chang at sixteen years old looked a lot like Mingyue Gelou. She was only half a head shorter than Qing Shui at the moment and had exceptionally good looks and traits. Qing Shui looked at Yu Chang and Luan Luan, he was forced to be a father because of them.....
Qing Shui was busy for the entire day. The visitors only left at mid-afternoon. Both Cang Wuya and Fei Wuji also came after new year. They stayed here for quite a few days.
The construction of Heavenly Palace was complete. It was just that it was about half as big as before. Additionally, there were a hundred thousand fewer people in Heavenly Palace which from Qing Shui's view point, was a really good thing. The originally huge number of people was a burden. Furthermore, it was more important to have talent rather than a huge number. When he had been to the Central Continent, there were no huge sects or autocratic clans that had as large a number of people as the Heavenly Palace did.
At the time when Qing Shui arrived at Heavenly Palace, he thought that all large sects were like that. But so far, Heavenly Palace was the only one he saw which was like that. Hence, Qing Shui and Elder Ge discussed ways to reorganize Heavenly Palace. The remaining people could stay but in the future, there would be large changes in terms of recruiting members. Only people with outstanding skills would be given a chance to enter the Heavenly Palace. The rules from the past would be cancelled.
In a short while, almost 90% of the population was gone. This way, the quality of management as well as cultivation would be a lot better than before. There were only about ten thousand people in Heavenly Palace's nine halls.
During this time, Qing Shui collected quite a lot of Tiger Vitality Pills and some other stuff. The others from Qing Clan got more of them before they managed to finish up their old ones. He even divided up the things from those tens of Interspatial Silk Sachets for them.
The other thing was that merely Qing Clan members wouldn't be able to finish the Rainbow Trout Fish once it was prepared as a dish. Even though the increase in strength wasn't significant, over time a terrifying result would surface.
There were quite a lot of fish and prawns, turtles, Rainbow Trout Fish and Golden Horn Firetail Fish in the newly built lake at the backyard of Qing Clan. He also threw in quite a lot of water from the pool in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. In any case, it would not be long before the water in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal filled itself back up.
He would soon be going to Southern Viewing Continent to fulfill the promise he made with Elder Fei. But it seemed he would have to wait until next month. There was still more than half a month left. He would use this time to organize the things in Heavenly Palace and Qing Clan.
"Qing Shui, I don't care, you have to bring me to Southern Viewing Continent this time." Huoyun Liu-Li said once more because she knew that Qing Shui would be going to Southern Viewing Ministry Continent very soon.
"Liu-Li, what's wrong? You can't hold it in?" Qing Shui smiled and looked at Huoyun Liu-Li.
Qing Shui's words were really flirtish, making Huoyun Liu-Li quickly blush and looked at Qing Shui grumpily. She looked beautiful regardless of whether she was happy or angry. Giving her an unusual charm.
"Alright, be a good girl, I will bring you to Southern Viewing Continent once I'm done with everything, alright?" Qing Shui smiled.
"Is telling lies the only thing that you know? You told me before that you would bring me to Central Continent but you never did." Huoyun Liu-Li's eyes were already filled with tears.
Qing Shui stunned. He felt as if he had really promised her before but yet was unable to fulfill it. At that time, he was only saying it casually. It could be that he did mention to her that he would bring her along in the future, just not now.
Qing Shui really didn't want to bring them on a risky journey to Southern Viewing Continent. He rubbed her tears and told her slowly: "Stop crying, I'll bring you there alright?"
Qing Shui said it really bitterly. He couldn't get himself to reject her request after seeing her sad look.
"Alright, I won't go. Remember this, you owe me two trips now! You have to bring me along in the future. I know that my cultivation level is quite low but I'll work hard. In order to be able to follow you around, I will cultivate hard." Huoyun Liu-Li smiled with traces of tears on her face.
"Alright alright, I will bring you there for sure." Qing Shui let out a sigh of relief. At the same time, he also realized that Huoyun Liu-Li was testing him just now. She was a fair and considerate person, hence, she wouldn't put him in a tough position. She just wanted to tell him that the words that he said to her meant a lot to her.
Over the following days, not only did Qing Shui need to guide Qing Clan in their cultivation, he needed to go to Heavenly Palace to arrange the things in it. Most of the things in Heavenly Palace were being watched over by Elder Ge. Qing Shui was only there to roughly understand the situation.
The inheritance of Heavenly Palace had to stay the same, the main hall had to be kept the same as well and some of the groups had to stay attached. These were the last words of the Old Ancestor. The other eight halls and Misty Hall had to stay the same with Di Chen looking after it. However, Yiye Jiange, Wenren Wushuang, Canghai Mingyue, Huoyun Liu-Li and Mingyue Gelou had all gone to Misty Hall to aid Di Chen.
Even Luan Luan was someone from Misty Hall. The Misty Hall was already the strongest one among the Heavenly Palace's nine halls. Not long after, it might be strengthened even further. In the future, it might have a chance to impact the World of the Nine Continents with its name.
Other than that, Qing Shui moved Qing Clan to Heavenly Palace. This way, he would be able to gather them at one spot to look after.
"Daddy, look at the demonic beasts I tamed!"
In the moment when Qing Shui was dreaming, Luan Luan's voice came through.
Qing Shui turned around and saw Luan Luan approaching him with ten demonic beasts. She had a really happy smile on her face accompanied by a bit of excitement. Upon seeing the demonic beasts behind her clearly, he also felt a sudden joy.
The demonic beasts which Luan Luan tamed were actually a herd of Earth Devouring Mice.
There were ten of them. Earth Devouring Mice could drill through earth and penetrate through rock. It was a foot long and had a silver colored body. It was the same family as the Four-Eared Shadow Mouse. Even their strength was almost the same, with the exception that it had the addition ability of drilling through earth and rock. The Earth Devouring Mouse was also known as the Ground Travelling Mouse. It was an outstanding existence in travelling through the ground.
Earth Devouring Mice also possessed incredibly fast speed. The sharpness of its teeth and claws were comparable to that of the Four-Eared Shadow Mouse. It's just that it was a bit inferior in speed. However, it could drill through earth, diamonds and can be used for sneak attacks. It was still really powerful. However, similarly to the Four-Eared Shadow Mouse, they were a terrifying force when they worked together as a group.
Strength of a Peak Martial King. All of them had the strength of Peak Martial Kings!
Qing Shui immediately took out some Endurance Pellets and even some Spiritual Beast Pills from the Interspatial Silk Sachet and gave more than half of them to Luan Luan, making her so happy that she kissed Qing Shui's cheek.
This was how Luan Luan has been since she was young. Qing Shui remembered the time when he got a face full of her saliva from her kisses and in the blink of an eye, she was already all grown up.
"Luan Luan, you have to treat these little guys well. In the future, they're going to be really powerful. It would have been better if you could have more of them." Qing Shui chuckled and looked at Luan Luan. This daughter of his was finally about to show her talent.
"Yeah, I know." Luan Luan happily embraced one of Qing Shui's arms as she looked at the ten intelligent little guys.
"Haha, these ten little guys could totally beat a Grade Ten Martial Saint in mountains and on the ground. If among them, there are three that achieve the strength of a Grade One Martial Saint, they would be able to even defeat a low Peak Martial Saint." Qing Shui smiled and looked at Luan Luan.
Luan Luan looked at Qing Shui in shock and only responded after a long time: "Is daddy telling the truth?"
"Since when has daddy ever lied to you?"
"That's great! Unfortunately, there are too few of them." Luan Luan complained.
"The fewer, the better, it would have been dangerous if there had been more. You would lose focus on which demonic beasts you would tame if there are too many of them. And also, your spirit energy, it's quite limited. If the difference in strength is too great, it would be really dangerous." Qing Shui rubbed her head. Even though she possessed the Heart of Seven Orifices, it didn't necessarily mean that she would be able to tame a magnificent army of beasts. When she attempted to tame demonic beasts which exceeded her by too much, there was a chance that it would fail. After all, the stronger a demonic beast, the more intelligence they have. Once she failed to tame them, there would be danger. Most of the demonic beasts would attack fiercely when they found out there were humans who wanted to tame them. However, Luan Luan, who possessed the Heart of Seven Orifices, could feel what the demonic beasts thought. Hence the reason why she could tame them more effectively. It's just like making intimate friends.
"When will I get demonic beasts that's as powerful as daddy's?" Luan Luan looked at Qing Shui and asked eagerly.
"Quick, cultivate well and try to break through Martial Saint as soon as possible. By then, you will end up taming even more powerful demonic beasts. But you have to be careful, even though your talent in taming beasts is undisputable, you need to have a few powerful demonic beasts around you to protect yourself." Qing Shui already knew that Luan Luan knew about all of this but he still couldn't hold it and laughed.
As he thought more about it, he began to laugh. Parents would often subconsciously nagged their children. They would always be worried about their children just like Qing Shui, he came to realize that he has started to be a bit naggy and finally understood why his mother was so concerned of him in the past.
"Yeah, I know daddy." Luan Luan laughed and walked towards Qing Clan while grabbing Qing Shui's arm.
Yu Chang inherited Mingyue Gelou's talent. However, not all her meridians were cleared, only themajority of them. She had about eighty or 90% of her meridians cleared already.During this time, she had been consuming Meridians Clearing Pills to help her clear the rest. Qing Shui hoped that she would have comprehension abilities like that of Mingyue Gelou.
Qing Zun and Qing Yin were still too young. Hence, Qing Shui would only let them dip in a bubbly medicinal bath and eat a few warm-natured spiritual fruits. This would help store up some spiritual energy in their bodies which would slowly be of use when they grew up.
"Daddy, someone's looking for you down there, he said he is Qing Shang from Qin Clan." Qing Shui was practicing his fist at the courtyard when Luan Luan approached him.
"Oh, let me go have a look!" Qing Shui smiled at Luan Luan and walked out when he was done speaking.
It's already past new year, it should be time for him to take over Qin Clan. Qing Shui never thought that he would personally send him an invitation card. This still made Qing Shui feel really happy deep down, this meant that he sincerely wished that Qing Shui would attend the ceremony.
"Mister Qing!" Upon seeing Qing Shui, Qin Shang happily walked a few steps.
"Is it time yet?" Qing Shui smiled as he welcomed him up. This was the waist of the Heavenly Palace mountain. Qing Clan wasn't far away from here.
AST 746 - Preparations To The Southern Viewing Continent, The Tough Yiye Jiange
Three days later, Qin Shang came again to the Qing Residence to invite Qing Shui to the Qin Residence. Naturally, Qin Shang went back to the Qin Residence together with Qing Shui, and this time everything went smoothly. However, a lot of people in the Qin Residence were surprised by the presence of Qing Shui when he had arrived. They were also puzzled as to why the old man of the Qin Clan would hand over the position of clan leader to Qin Shang, but finally understood it was due to Qing Shui's influence.
Qing Shui was only there to show his presence and nothing else. After the time to take an incense stick to burn had passed, Old man Qin had finally announced that Qin Shang would be the next head of the clan. When there wasn't any objection from the members of the Qin Clan, Qing Shui finally allowed himself to leave. He had fulfilled his promise to Qin Shang - he only came just for Qin Shang's sake.
In any case, Qing Shui didn't care much for other people's gossips and speculations. After everything was over, Qin Shang and the higher-ups of the Qin Clan escorted Qing Shui out of the residence and bid him farewell. Qin Shang insisted on sending Qing Shui back to the Heavenly Palace personally, but that offer was ultimately refused by Qing Shui himself.
In a blink of an eye, the end of January had arrived. Qing Shui was relieved that the work development of the Heavenly Palace and Qing Residence were going smoothly as planned. Moreover, with Luan Luan and the ladies by his side, as well as the display of strength by the Martial Saints in the Qing Clan, he was more than happy to feel alive.
On the other hand, one of Luan Luan's Earth Devouring Mouses had already reached the Elementary Martial Saint level after it had consumed the Beast Pellets as well as other strength-boosting medicinal pills from Qing Shui. After the upgrade, the said Earth Devouring Mouse had gained the ability to fly in the sky freely. It was also distinctively larger than the other Earth Devouring Mouses by one-third of their size, and its silver-white furs were visibly more textured than it was before. In addition, the speed of the larger Earth Devouring Mouse had been boosted by multiple folds as well, which allowed it to move much faster in a short amount of time.
Luan Luan was elated when one of her Earth Devouring Mouses had a breakthrough. Because of that, she began to developed a gleaming hope that the remaining nine Earth Devouring Mouses would be able to breakthrough to Martial Saint soon. When she thought about the idea that all of her Earth Devouring Mouses would become Martial Saints, she was filled with endless excitement. However, in order for a breakthrough to occur, a right opportunity must be presented at the precise moment. With that thought in mind, she had considered that the breakthrough to Martial Saint of that particular Earth Devouring Mouse was due to an accidental luck.
Even though the remaining Earth Devouring Mouses did not manage to had a breakthrough, their abilities were greatly boosted instead after consuming those medicinal pills. Because Luan Luan was the one who had fed the medicinal pills to them, their bond was further strengthened which made them closer as if they were a family.
Luan Luan could also communicate with her Earth Devouring Mouses through the Heart of Seven Orifices. The heart had also granted her the ability to feel their thoughts. Thus, she began to treat her demonic beasts as her friends, and also as her children. Due to the unbreakable bond that they shared with each other, the Earth Devouring Mouses would never betray her. When they chose to follow her, they had chosen to be with her for eternity, even if they had to die protecting their owner. The Heart of the Seven Orifices was indeed that compelling and powerful.
Other people could only force the demonic beasts to succumb to their commands through the brute strength of their martial arts. However, it was impossible to make some demonic beasts to surrender to their orders - they would rather die than succumb to the brute force of this people.
Qing Shui had made his way to Cang Wuya's home. The old man had already grown various flowers around his home, but he wasn't as passionate as before when it comes to breeding his fishes anymore. Cang Wuya would practice some of his fist techniques in the morning, however, he was still stuck at the realm of Peak Martial King. If he couldn't find the right opportunity in Hhis remaining life, he would never be able to achieve another breakthrough.
’’Qing Shui, you're here.’’ Cang Wuya was quite happy when he saw Qing Shui.
’’Morning, old man!’’ Qing Shui greeted Cang Wuya who was in the midst of sprinkling granules into the pond.
’’I didn't know you were this free to roam around for today. Normally you wouldn't have time to come visit me even for a few minutes.’’ Cang Wuya put down the item on his hand and gestured Qing Shui to follow him to the pavilion nearby.’’What about Martial Uncle Fei? Will he be coming over today?’’ Qing Shui smiled.
’’He will come later. He has been stopping by almost everyday for the past few weeks and have a meal or two with me. Why?’’ asked Cang Wuya as he shot a curious look at Qing Shui.
’’I think I'm almost settled with the stuff regarding the former Old Ancestor. Once this is done, I might be able to relax for a while. Unfortunately, it might take a while, since this matter is still beyond my ability. Otherwise I would have been able to relax a long time ago.’’ said Qing Shui, as he felt a bit helpless with his current situation.
Cang Wuya let out a sigh, not knowing what to say to Qing Shui. The matters about the Old Ancestor should have been handled by him and the elders, but none of them were capable enough to see it through. Cang Wuya would always feel like a failure whenever he thought about their inability to handle the problem.
He also understood what Qing Shui meant by 'beyond his ability', it had something to do with Yiye Jiange. Qing Shui was only able to pacify the matters regarding the Lion King's Ridges. Cang Wuya looked at Qing Shui and said: ’’You are still young, so there's still a chance for you. Moreover, you have Luan Luan by your side. Perhaps she will be the one who can take down the Lion King's Ridges one day.’’
’’Back then I had already decided that I will take down the Lion King's Ridges within 20 years of time. The power of a supreme sect is unimaginable. It has been 10 years since I made that decision, and yet I am still far from taking them down.’’ Qing Shui couldn't imagine that the power of a third-class supreme aristocratic family would be far more powerful than he was. The people from the Lion King's Ridges would at least had the ability of the first-class, or worse, far more supreme than those of the first-class.
’’You have tried your best for the past 10 years, and you will do better in the years to come. You can still make it in another 10 years. Besides, Jiange didn't actually think that you would ask her to face the risks with the Lion King's Ridges together. I feel that it might be the opposite, she wanted to go to face the Lion King's Ridges head on by herself.’’ Cang Wuya said in a serious manner.
’’Hmm. I know, regardless, I will definitely bring her along to the Lion King's Ridges.’’ Qing Shui recalled the time she and Baili Jingwei had saved him and the Qing Clan from the depths of misery in the Hundred Miles City. He felt that he would never be able to repay her kindness enough regardless if he could defeat the Lion King's Ridges or not.
Qing Shui wanted her to feel happy once more. He wanted to do something that was worth of her happiness, and that something was the confrontation with the Lion King's Ridges. Even though it was beyond what he could offer right now, it certainly didn't stop him from pursuing towards this matter. All he needed was a little bit more time.......
After a while, Fei Wuji arrived. When he saw Qing Shui after a long time, he was visibly stunned. After all, Qing Shui was the type who would rarely go out on a normal basis. Fei Wuji adjusted himself and finally said: ’’Qing Shui, you took the time to come here, did something happened?’’
Qing Shui stood up and greeted Fei Wuji before they all sat down together. As he did so, he said: ’’Today I wanted to talk to Martial Uncle about when we could prepare our journey to the Southern Viewing Continent.’’
Even though Fei Wuji had already knew that Qing Shui would inquire about the Southern Viewing Continent when he saw him, he was still taken by surprise when Qing Shui asked him about this. He looked at Qing Shui, clearly flabbergasted by the question.
’’You really want to go?’’ Fei Wuji was a bit muddle-headed when he asked Qing Shui.
The affairs with the Southern Viewing Continent had been on his mind for a long time. Because of this matter, his grandfather had to single-handedly kill his father, and his mother lived on with this burden even until she died in the end. Although his grandfather had never spoken about it, he wasn't able to break through the realm of Martial Saint due to the incident with the Southern Viewing Continent. His grandfather had to kill his only son due to the provocation by the people from the Southern Viewing Continent. Who wouldn't fall into a state of grief and sorrow if they were forced to kill their own child.....
Ever since Fei Wuji was a young lad, he had hated his grandfather. But when he had realized that his grandfather was the victim in that incident after he grew up, he finally understood why he had to do it. His grandfather suffered the most, the pain that he had carried with him after the incident was indescribable - it was more painful than being stabbed and cut into pieces. Fei Wuji's father was born into the world when his grandfather was almost at his prime. His father was the only child of his grandfather, and he was the closest to his own child than anyone else. When his grandfather had to kill his father - his only son, he felt extremely miserable that even committing suicide couldn't drown this pain away. But there was no choice, he was just a pawn in the hands of the cruel men due to his lack of ability to stand up for himself. His pain was the amusement of his enemies.
Fei Wuji had once thought of standing above the Eastern Palace Clan one day and annihilate his old enemies all at once. He felt that he should had burn down the entire Eastern Palace Clan, that it might satisfy his anger one way or another. Even though he was still young back then, he had already shown the hardships of life in his eyes.
As his thoughts were running about his head, Fei Wuji's eyes had became red as two droplets of tears rolled down his face. Men would only weep when their heart was truly broken.
’’Martial Uncle Fei, we will depart after three days. What do you say?’’ Qing Shui gave a gentle smile at Fei Wuji.
Fei Wuji looked up to face Qing Shui. He had regained his composure slowly and calmed himself down before he turned to look at Cang Wuya. Only when Cang Wuya gave a slight nod that Fei Wuji was able to reply to Qing Shui: ’’I can depart anytime.’’
Qing Shui had pondered for a bit and finally said: ’’Then it's settled. We will depart after three days. Martial Uncle Fei, please talk to Elder Bai about it, and see how many people we need to bring to the the Southern Viewing Continent.’’
Fei Wuji was confirmed to be joining the journey, but it was optional for the others. Of course, they were allowed to come if they wanted to, but it would be Fei Wuji's decision to finalize the number of people allowed for the journey ahead.
’’Okay. Martial Uncle, are you coming with us?’’ Fei Wuji turned to ask Cang Wuya.
Just then Elder Ge walked in with a smile on his face and said, ’’Go with them. Even though he didn't have a strong cultivation base as Qing Shui, he could still provide a clear analysis on a lot of things. If Qing Shui wasn't able to make a decision, he could always discuss it with Elder Cang.’’
’’Qing Shui, please be careful this time. If you cannot overcome the Eastern Palace Clan, please retreat as soon as possible. As long as you are still alive, you can always exact your revenge any time.’’ Yiye Jiange said in a calm tone as he stood at the mountain peak.
’’I understand, Jiange.....’’ Qing Shui didn't know what else to say. It had been a long time since Yiye Jiange first came to the Greencloud Continent. She had spent most of her time at the Skysword Sect before she met him at the Hundred Miles City. From the moment they were acquainted with each other until now, their relationship had been stuck in a strange fixed point.
’’Do you have something you want to say?’’ Yiye Jiange looked at Qing Shui as he reached out his hand to pat her head twice. Before he tried to touch her head, he had a few moments of hesitation in his action.
Qing Shui wasn't quite sure himself, his heart burned with intense grief. Yiye Jiange had also suffered just as much as Fei Wuji did. If a great man like Fei Wuji couldn't hold back his tears, then what about Yiye Jiange?
She had been alone for so many years. It must be difficult, so very difficult.....
Qing Shui had felt a pang in his heart as he looked at Yiye Jiange. Then suddenly, he went closer and hugged her. This was the first skinship they had ever done after they met each other for a long time. Surprisingly, Yiye Jiange didn't refuse his embrace and continued to let Qing Shui hug her. She felt his emotions and sympathy when she saw his expression.
’’Jiange, we are a family. I can do anything for you. So if you have any problems, please tell me. Maybe I haven't shown you a lot of concern after such a long time.......’’ Qing Shui whispered softly into her ears.
’’I have no problems. Meeting you was the best thing that has happened in my life. I am very happy.’’ Yiye Jiange sighed as she laughed. She returned his embrace by extending her arms towards Qing Shui before she released herself from his hug.
’’Qing Shui, do you want me to follow you?’’ Di Chen held Qing Shui's hand and smiled.
’’The Misty Hall still needs your support.’’ Qing Shui picked up Di Chen and let her sit on his lap. He even placed her feet softly on the end table.
’’Ah, you rascal.’’ Di Chen scoffed. Maybe she knew Qing Shui was going to leave soon, so she slowly placed her head on his chest to listen to his heartbeat.
’’I'm going to leave soon. So if you can, please fulfill your husband's only wish.’’ Qing Shui gave Di Chen a pleasing smile as he looked at her face buried on his chest.
Di Chen blushed. Ever since that mysterious dream among the sea of flowers last time, their relationship had suddenly skyrocketed to a high level of intimacy. This rascal was even bolder as he used the word 'husband' in their conversation.
’’What wish?’’ Di Chen knew that nothing good would come out of Qing Shui when he asked for something. But she still brought herself to inquire about it, all because he was going to leave soon. She had became more open-minded after the incident with the Zuoshi Clan had passed.
’’Kiss me!’’ Qing Shui had a smile on his face as he looked at Di Chen.
Di Chen slowly lifted her head. She hesitated for a while, her face was instantly flushed with an intense red. She began to inch closer towards Qing Shui's face, and then as slowly as she could, she closed her eyes and went for the kiss.
It was a peck on the cheek, yet the soft sensation he felt made his heart fluttered. He couldn't resist the temptation anymore and quickly kissed her on the lips. It was a long, yet passionate kiss, which left a faint pink mark around her mouth after Qing Shui had finally released her lips.