Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 862-863
AST 862 –Azure Cloud Pavilion, The Eldest Daughter of Mu Clan
Azure Cloud Pavilion!
This was a pavilion located at the Heaven Stepping Road, as well as a business quarter of the Mu Clan. Dong Yan brought Qing Shui and Sun Yan into the pavilion to meet a new acquaintance.
Dong Yan had a strange smile on his face when he mentioned the person they were going to meet.
"Qing Shui, do you want to know who you’re going to meet?" Dong Yan maintained a smile as he glanced toward Qing Shui. They continued their pace causally into the pavilion.
"Of course!" Qing Shui smiled but set his eyes on the Azure Cloud Pavilion instead. This area stood out as an elegant architecture, with the exception of the simple undecorated doors. There was a large tablet above the door, with the words 'Azure Cloud Pavilion' inscribed beautifully on the surface.
The handwriting was clearly a woman's. He could feel a strong air of elegance as he stood outside the entrance of the Azure Cloud Pavilion with the others.
Qing Shui was immediately curious just from the sense of the surrounding aura. He wanted to know who he was going to meet as he turned his head to face Dong Yan with an expression of anticipation.
"There are many beautiful women in the capital but the most beautiful woman I have ever met would be the eldest daughter of the Mu Clan. She is the finest woman in the capital without question," Dong Yan said as he smiled at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui now understood why Dong Yan would have such an expression whenever he mentioned the Mu Clan in their conversations.
"In other words, you're saying that the leader of the expedition to the Sky Penetrating Mountain is none other than the eldest daughter of the Mu Clan?" Qing Shui looked at Dong Yan with surprise.
"Correct. The Azure Cloud Pavilion is the living quarters of miss Mu. She has been leading the expedition to the Sky Penetrating Mountain for a few years already." Qing Shui could feel a sense of gloominess from Dong Yan when he mentioned the woman of the Mu Clan.
As they approached the front entrance of the Azure cloud Pavilion, two maidservants appeared and walked out from the door.
"Young Master Dong, welcome!" The maidservants were petite, yet their voices were clear and strong but with a tinge of politeness. They were said to be one of the best of their kinds as well.
"Is the young lady available?" Dong Yan asked the maidservants with a grin. Currently, Dong Yan wasn't the frivolous man he was at the Dongfang Clan but a gentle brother of the neighborhood.
"Could it be that Dong Yan likes young miss Mu?" Qing Shui allowed himself a smile as he looked at Dong Yan. He decided to ask Dong Yan himself later during his free time.
"Yes. She's upstairs drawing. Young Master Dong, you may enter now." The maidservants showed polite smiles and proceeded upstairs immediately. Before they left to announce their arrival to the eldest daughter of the Mu Clan, they took a few glances at Qing Shui and Sun Yan standing behind Dong Yan.
The three of them started walking into the Azure Cloud Pavilion. The building inside was moderately spaced –not too spacious and not too narrow. The living room on the ground floor was less than a thousand square meters. The hallways stretched in curves, creeping upwards in winding paths. An aura of nobility filled the air, with a subtle smell of books lingering between the hallways.
The scent of books was the best smell in the world.
The three of them strolled along the hallway and followed the stairs covered in red silk upwards. The pavilion was three-storeys high and most importantly, there was a strange rule that they had to follow in this building.
The rule was set up due to the overwhelming number of people who wished to gain an audience with the eldest daughter of the Mu Clan. Strangers were allowed to enter but they must display some sort of specialty in order to remain inside. If one failed to show an extraordinary skill to her, the outcome would be unthinkable. In the past, two wealthy men had thought she was easy to push around and disobeyed the rule. They were able to go inside the Azure Cloud Pavilion and got out without any problem. But as they reached the streets, they began to go mad and fought each other in public. Their clothes were shredded in the process and as a result, they brought shame to their family. Subsequently, both the wealthy men took off from the capital, as they were too embarrassed and humiliated to remain any longer.
From then on, no one had dared to plot against the Azure Cloud Pavilion ever again. Demon refiners have many tricks up their sleeves and Miss Mu was no exception as her power was known to be around the level of a Peak Martial Saint. She was the best demon refiner in the city, with the ability to stun her opponents with a small crystalloid, causing them to go mad…….
The three of them continued toward the third floor, where the space was increasingly becoming narrower. The whole area had been segmented into three parts too. As they climbed to the third floor, the two maidservants were already standing in front of the door, waiting for their arrival.
At the far end, there was a woman standing in front of a long desk but with her back facing them. Qing Shui shuddered when he saw her back. He couldn't quite describe his exact feelings.
The slender and tall woman was wearing a golden phoenix pleated dress with wings stretching to both sides of the fabric. The phoenix pattern seemed quite vivid and lifelike, with realistic details down to the fine points. Her hair was tied up high in a bun, which brought out the beautiful structure of her long powdered neck.
The slightly loose dress could not cover the silhouette of her figure. Although her bosom and her butt were not exaggeratedly defined, they were quite noticeable as the graceful outlines pushed against her clothes.
No wonder Dong Yan said she was one in a million in the Eastern God Country. Undeniably, she could easily best all the women in the continent without much competition solely with the view of her back. Moreover, Qing Shui could sense a fluctuation of pure Spiritual Qi from the woman's body, which in a way, could be a reflection of her charm. In a sense, her beauty was on par with the women in the Portraits of Beauty. His arrival in the Eastern Victory divine Continent was quite theatrical when he recalled his journey so far. Even though the purpose of coming to the Azure Cloud Pavilion was largely due to him, he was able to do so because of Dong Yan.
The three of them stood still. Sun Yan and Qing Shui did so because Dong Yan wasn't moving. Sun Yan in particularly was entranced by the view of her back. After staring at the woman for awhile, he finally sighed and cocked his head to the side.
"Why are you sighing, sir?"
At that moment, a clear voice rang out. Her voice was mellow, which sounded graceful to their ears, as if they were being lifted up in the air gently like a feather. Qing Shui had heard similar voices like hers before –for example, Di Chen, Yiye Jiange, Canghai Mingyue and Hai Dongqing;their voices had somewhat similar effects……Even though their tones were different, their voices were very pleasant to the ears.
"My dearest miss, I feel unworthy to be graced with the view of your back." Sun Yan smiled bitterly.
Qing Shui didn't expect Sun Yan to speak such words. The woman in front of the long desk didn't seem to show a big reaction. Instead, she put down her paint brush and slowly turned around to reveal a divine appearance that could captivate the hearts of men.
Her pleasantly arched brows sat proportionally on her smooth-looking skin, in contrast to the her bright gleaming eyes. Her shoulders were sharply padded, which enhanced her graceful figure and her independant aura. She was a refined woman, much like a delicate orchid arching in an elegant posture.
The golden phoenix dress added a touch of nobility to her poise, making her seem like a fairy from the Ninth Heavens.
Despite her elegance and refined demeanor, Qing Shui still felt that the woman from the crystal coffin was more divine than she was. However, this eldest daughter of the Mu Clan was not inferior as she possessed an elegance akin to the woman in the crystal coffin –both of them were sophisticated and charming in a similar fashion.
"Mr. Dong, these two must be your friends," the woman's voice rang out once again. Her voice was quite pleasant. Listening to her voice was a very invigorating experience.
"They are my sworn brothers, closer than biological brothers, in fact," said Dong Yan. He added the last few words nonchalantly, yet he was quite serious about his choice of words.
Miss Mu and Dong Yan had known each other for a while and she knew the young master of Dong Clan was very perceptive toward people who had attempted to approach him, which was why he only had a handful of friends. However, every man was born to be exceptional. If these two could become Dong Yan's brothers of close bonds, then it was enough to say that these two men were undoubtedly outstanding and remarkable.
"Rules are rules. If you want to stay in the Azure Cloud Pavilion, then you must show me a specialty skill that will allow me to feel content," the woman curved her lips as she said to Dong Yan, Qing Shui and Sun Yan.
There was a hint of mystery in her tone. Her voice was undeniably as beautiful as ever.
Sun Yan glanced toward Qing Shui and nodded his head. Then he extended his right arm, promptly gathering an overwhelming Spiritual Qi around his body from the surroundings of the room. It was at this moment that the woman finally spoke in a clear voice, "You pass!"
"Your turn!" Sun Yan prodded Qing Shui after a moment of silence. He wanted to see Qing Shui's specialty skill –something extraordinary to satisfy his curiosity.
"Patience, brother. Let me think for a moment. There’s too many to choose from and I can only show one." Qing Shui wasn’t fooling around but 'too many' wasn’t entirely true either. He racked his brain trying to think of one skill that would truly awe the woman in one fell swoop.
The others were left speechless by Qing Shui's words. How many specialties would one require in this world? Normally, having one specialty skill was enough to defy nature, much less having multiple up his sleeves.
"Were you drawing just now, miss?" Qing Shui perked his head up and asked the woman.
"Yes, I was!"
Qing Shui paused, then continued to asked the woman, "Well, does drawing count as a specialty?"
"Of course. The greatest artist can conquer the whole world with painting alone," she smiled as she answered Qing Shui.
"Then I will paint a portrait!' Qing Shui said while thinking of a subject to paint.
"Please go ahead!"
Initially, he thought about using her as the subject but that would be quite disrespectful to do so as they had just met each other. Qing Shui picked up her paintbrush and proceeded to dip the brush into the 'ink' with his eyes closed.
The woman's expression changed as she kept watch on his movements. Her eyes were brightly lit and she found herself staring at him with anticipation.
Suddenly, Qing Shui's blood flow turned berserk, which seemed quite exaggerated yet necessary. It was quite indescribable when he felt an abrupt change to his blood flow and before he knew it, he began moving his hands. His brushwork was flexible and lively with a bit of force in his movement. After a while, he had made a rough sketch of his art.
An outline of a beautiful figure appeared on the portrait.
After that, the facial features of the portrait became more distinct. The more distinct the portrait appeared, the more shocking the woman was. Within a few moments, Dong Yan and Sun Yan had the same expression as the woman as they continued to follow Qing Shui's brushwork on the portrait.
When he finally finished the portrait, he stopped and put down the brush before he opened his eyes. Even though he took a lot more time compared to Sun Yan, he had shown a unyielding flow in his effort to accomplish his composition of the portrait. Qing Shui took the effort to draw the portrait with unfathomable details, resulting in a portrait akin to a live figure of a beautiful woman.
The woman in the portrait had her hair tied up high. Her brows were soft-looking, illustrating a kind expression on her white face. The white complexion wasn't a product of a powdered makeup but her natural skin with a hint of rosy glow. She had the features of a goddess but with a pair of eyes depicting the cold winds of winter.
Even though her eyes were beautiful, there was a hint of hatred and helplessness in addition to the dazed expression in her eyes. With one look at the portrait, everyone could tell that the woman in the portrait was undeniably as beautiful as the eldest daughter of the Mu Clan –the figure in the portrait was a woman as dignified as the goddess.
Qing Shui didn't realize that he had drawn the woman from the crystal coffin. Worst of all, he had drawn the exact expression of the woman when she woke up and stared at him……
Looking at the portrait, Qing Shui was inevitably brought back to the memories of that moment. The woman in the crystal coffin did not kill him but spared him instead. She must be hating herself for not being able to kill him right away.
Qing Shui let out a long breath of air, as if he was letting out a deep sigh of relief.
"So cold but so beautiful. Is she your wife?" The eldest daughter of Mu Clan asked curiously. She didn't expect this man to possess a skill in drawing much superior than hers, much more superior, in fact.
Qing Shui was stunned by her question but shook his head to her reply. He wasn't prepared for her question but didn't want to brush her off without giving a definite answer. In such circumstance, one would require much practice to be able to draw a woman to such an extent, even without emotions or personal feelings…….
Qing Shui wasn't troubled by her question. He put on a smile and replied, "I'm not sure if this is considered a skill. If it's not, I can try something else."
"You really do have other skills? Are you sure you want to show something else?" The woman smirked.
"Then this should be enough. Let's leave it at that!" Qing Shui didn't want to expose his abilities too much, so showing another one was quite unnecessary. He had other aces up in his sleeves but who wouldn't have at least more than one in order to survive in this world?
"Then sit wherever you please!" The woman welcomed them to the 'couch' inside. In front of the couch was a small table with cups of tea freshly prepared moments ago.
"Actually, Miss Mu, today we came to ask you for a favor," Dong Yan spoke slowly after they had all settled down.
"Oh, do tell. You rarely ask favors from others, so I will not refuse if it's within my capability."
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AST 863 –Preparation, Peak Martial Saint Thunderous Beast
“Oh, go ahead. You, Young Master Dong, seldom asks for favors. As long as it’s within my means, I won’t reject you.”
The lady sat opposite Dong Yan and company. In the middle, there was a very large tea table between them, keeping them at a distance of three meters apart. This was how Mu Clan’s Young Miss did things. Usually, people would be unable to get within three meters of her.
“My brother Qing Shui wants to enter the Sky Penetrating Mountains. Therefore, I’d like for you guys to let him join you when you enter. I’ll definitely offer my great thanks,”Dong Yan said to the lady.
The lady was in no hurry to promise Dong Yan. She frowned slightly and looked at Qing Shui. At this moment, it was as if she wanted to use her beautiful eyes to see through Qing Shui.
“You’re sure that you want to go?”The lady said softly, looking at Qing Shui.
“To be honest, even for us, we don’t have absolute confidence that we’ll be able to stay alive. It’s just that we’ve been quite lucky. I won’t say much if you were to want to go but I won’t be able to guarantee your safety. It’s because no one who goes will be able to guarantee that they’ll be able to come back,”the lady smiled lightly and said.
Qing Shui knew that the lady was in fact saying this to Dong Yan or maybe she was telling him but the intention was for Dong Yan to know about it. The lady’s cautiousness was something which Qing Shui felt was good. This was only normal.
“I know. Actually, I would have gone in even if I went by myself. However, Eldest Brother is worried and wants me to find company. This is why we’re here to trouble Miss.”Qing Shui was speaking the truth.
“If that’s the case, I don’t mind going together. With more people, we can help take care of each other. After all, there’s still some time before we enter the Sky Penetrating Mountains. During this time, you can decide to withdraw anytime. It’s really dangerous inside.”
Qing Shui knew that she didn’t wish for him to go since she wouldn’t feel at ease. She was leading her own people in and could command them as she wished. The efficiency would be greater this way. If there were outsiders, that would not be the case. It was not good to be giving instructions to outsiders but if her own people were all able to return with just the exception of himself, she would find it hard to explain it to Dong Clan.
“I understand. When the time comes, there’s no need to stand on ceremony with me. I’ll listen to whatever you say. If there are any accidents, I would be the one to be blamed too. The blame wouldn’t be on you.”Qing Shui knew what the lady was thinking and thus made it clear.
The lady knew that Qing Shui could tell what she was implying. This was good as well since it wouldn’t be that nice to make everything too clear. She then turned to Dong Yan, “There’s no need for thanks. I just hope that everyone will be safe.”
“Miss Mu, when will we be setting off?”Qing Shui gave it some thought and asked
“Between half a month to one month,”the lady gave it some thought, smiled and said.
“Mmm, is there anything I’ll need to prepare?”Qing Shui gave it some thought and said.
“If you have medicine for injuries or antidotes, try to bring as many as you can. They might be useful. It’s best if they are medicinal pills which can instantly recover one’s physical strength. If you don’t have any, I’ll prepare some for you. Bring along everything that you feel is useful. It’s extremely dangerous in the Sky Penetrating Mountains and sometimes, there’s nowhere to hide and the only option is to fight it out. We might even need to kill a large group of demonic beasts,”the lady said casually.
“Oh, I have all of these,”Qing Shui quickly smiled and said.
“Oh, then that’s good!”
Seeing that it was about time, Dong Yan and company took their leave, with the lady seeing them to the door. Looking at the time, the three of them went to look for an inn for a drink.
There was an inn not far away from Azure Cloud Pavillion, “Elegance Inn”!
To be able to set up an inn along Heaven Stepping Road, they were definitely no ordinary people. The three of them entered and very quickly, a waiter came out to welcome them. The three of them sat in a corner. They neither wanted to enter a private room nor mix with the crowd, thus they chose a corner in the hall.
They opened a pint of “Flowerain Wine”and a strong fragrance flowed out. This was a mellow wine which had aged at least 100 years. Qing Shui did not take out his treasured collection of mellow wines, each of which had an age of 1,000 years. It was just that it was not appropriate to take it out now. Moreover, it was still better to try the local wine available when in a new place and he wanted to store some in his collection. After all, there was sufficient space in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal.
“Have you guys heard? Cheng Clan has came across a Chieftain Level demonic beast in the Sky Penetrating Mountains and all of them were wiped out. Cheng Clan is considered to have fallen.”
Just as the three of them were drinking, an abrupt voice rang out, causing Qing Shui’s brows to furrow tightly. It was because Qing Shui had came across a Chieftain Level demonic beast back in the Flowerfruit Mountain.
“This was all because of their greed. A large majority of the capable people in the clan had entered the Sky Penetrating Mountains, all for the sake of that Bloodjade Crystal Then this happened.”The one who spoke was a long-haired middle-aged man from the same table as the previous person who said that.
“I heard that there’s no match for that Chieftain Level demonic beast amongst all Martial Emperor cultivators,”a guy who was wearing a beautiful set of clothes said.
A Chieftain Level demonic beast had basically reached a powerful level and those who had entered its territory, regardless whether man or demonic beast, would have their abilities weakened while its own abilities would be strengthened. With one side being weakened and the other side strengthened, the gap was very very different.
“Do you know what that Chieftain Level demonic beast was?”A young man asked curiously.
“It seemed to be the Golden Dragon King!”
Qing Shui was also slightly nervous. If he were to come across a Chieftain Level demonic beast like that, would he be able to escape? He had the chance to use the Nine Continent Steps twice and had also six hours in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. Now, his spirit energy had soared by a lot and as long as he was not completely confined, he should be fine.
Moreover, he still had the Buddha’s True Eyes. Qing Shui had long since started to cultivate the Buddha’s True Eyes and its greatest use now was to increase his spirit energy and increase his resistance to attacks from spirit energy. It also let his Vajra’s Glare progress even faster.
He had yet to reach the small success stage and did not have the ability to attack his opponent’s “soul”.
In the middle, Qing Clan knew that Dong Yan’s grandfather had gone to Mu Clan once. Although Miss Mu was the one to call the shots in regards to entering the Sky Penetrating Mountains, there were still a couple of experts from Mu Clan who had gone alone. It could be said that she was the only youngster from Mu Clan who was entering the Sky Penetrating Mountains. The others were at least middle-aged, with a great majority of the group being old men. They were Mu Clan’s main force.
In the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal!
Qing Shui watched as his demonic beasts were gradually powering up. After all, there was plenty of time in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal. During this time, the Fire Bird and the Jade Emperor Queen Bee had powered up the fastest. It could be because they had been “born”in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal.
One thing that made Qing Shui happy was that the horde of Jade Emperor Bees had grown to close to 1,000 in number. Before the Jade Emperor Queen Bee attained a breakthrough to Peak Martial Saint, the Jade Emperor Bees would no longer increase in numbers.
Out of the 1,000 Jade Emperor Bees, half of them were at Peak Martial King level, three of them had attained a breakthrough to elementary Martial Saint. This made Qing Shui very excited. After a few more years, they would all become powerful demonic beasts and it would be a big group of them. Maybe, by then, the numbers would grow even higher. Imagining the scene where all the Jade Emperor Bees shot out their stingers made Qing Shui very agitated.
The Gold-Silver Colored Butterflies were always around. They could fly around in the Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal, going everywhere. Even some medicinal herbs had started to appear on some empty spaces far away. Those were the acts of the Jade Emperor Bees and the Gold-Silver Colored Butterflies. They must have unintentionally scattered the seeds.
That Ice Snow Sacred Fruit from two days ago had also matured. Qing Shui once again fed it to the Thunderous Beast. The two Ice Snow Sacred Fruits had pushed it to Peak Martial Saint and its cultivation had increased by a tremendous leap. It was quite a big achievement for a Grade Ten Martial Saint to reach Peak Martial Saint.
Even Qing Shui felt that luck was on his side. The two Ice Snow Sacred Fruits were well worth it. It had increased the Thunderous Beast’s physical strength from one star to three stars, causing him to feel very excited.
He could not help but looked at the Thunderous Beast’s powerful battle techniques.
Violet Thunder Protection: Unique ability of the Thunderous Beast, can increase all abilities to become two times stronger. It doesn’t deplete energy and automatically circulates. If it received physical attacks, the Thunderous Beast has a chance of inflicting paralysis on the opponent.
Having its abilities increased, the Thunderous Beast which now had a strength of six stars, had improved greatly in various aspects. Most importantly, those who dealt it physical blows would end up in a tragic state. As for those who attacked with magic arts, the Thunderous Beast could dodge with its speed. Moreover, the Thunderous Beast’s resistance ability was now also extremely powerful.
Thunderbolt: Releasing an electrifying attack through the Core within four hundred meters. The attack would have a slight paralyzing, speed reducing, reaction reducing effect on the opponent. The effects could be accumulated.
“Mmm, it has leveled up!”
Qing Shui hadn't noticed the distance previously but now, he realized that it could reach twice as far as before. This was good. It could now attack opponents from afar now.
There was not much change to the Violet Lightning Strike and the Lightning Recovery.
As for medicinal pills and such, Qing Shui had accumulated enough of them and naturally did not need to worry. He had also accumulated quite a lot of experience for the next alchemy recipe.
Unknowingly, half a month went by. Qing Shui didn’t stay at Dong Clan but at the Elegance Inn on the Heaven Stepping Road, the place where the three of them had had a drink the previous time. It was very close to Azure Cloud Pavillion.
Sun Yan had returned to Yun City and said that he would return after some time. Therefore, there was only Qing Shui and Dong Yan now and they would occasionally go to Azure Cloud Pavillion.
“Eldest Brother also came to Azure Cloud Pavillion frequently in the past?”Qing Shui smiled and looked at Dong Yan.
“Not really,”Dong Yan shook his head and said.
“Does Eldest Brother like Miss Mu?”Qing Shui looked seriously at Dong Yan, waiting to check out his reaction.
Dong Yan didn’t appear to find it strange nor was he surprised. He merely looked at Qing Shui, gave it some thought before shaking his head and saying, “It’s normal for men to like her. But it’s not good to fall in love with her, otherwise you’ll go crazy.”
“She eventually has to get married. She can’t possibly refuse to get married forever?”Qing Shui smiled and looked at Dong Yan.
“Regardless of whether she will be getting married or not, our relationship will stop at friends. There’s no other possibility. And if a guy who’s good enough for her doesn’t appear, she might stay single forever,”saying this, Dong Yan also smiled.
Qing Shui shook his head. He had not expected that a person like Dong Yan would also have moments where he would feel inferior. It wasn’t hard to feel inferior. For example, the fact that Dong Yan was not as powerful as her was sufficient.
Dong Yan appeared very at ease when he said this but Qing Shui knew that he was controlling himself, making himself not fall in love with that lady. Knowing that nothing would come of it, so he shouldn’t go ahead with it. Otherwise, in the end, he would be the one who would be covered in injuries.
“But third Brother, I feel that you have a chance.”Dong Yan looked at Qing Shui and that familiar smile appeared again.
“Me? Forget it. I already have several wives and a few kids,”Qing Shui smiled and said.
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