Li Qiye glanced at both of them and smiled: “It is indeed not easy to be in a great lineage. Citadel Lord, you have just won a great opportunity for the city.”
The two were slightly confused at Li Qiye’s words. They didn’t know that their attitude and posture had just garnered great benefits for their city. It could be said that countless lives were saved because of them.
“I heard my disciple say that you are the current shining beacon who is willing to use your great skill to rid our city of worries.” Though the citadel lord was a bit puzzled at this moment, he didn’t lose his respectful attitude and bowed once more.
Regardless of the time and place, powerful alchemists all enjoyed great statuses. This was doubly true for alchemists who were capable of life replenishment. A single word could command experts all over the world.
Li Qiye flatly stated: “I wouldn’t be standing here if I didn’t want to cure your ancestral vine of its calamity.”
The citadel lord’s mind was moved after hearing this. If Li Qiye could actually do so, this would be the greatest of news for both the citadel and him.
He took a deep breath and replied: “My disciple has told me that you are also life replenishing the Peacock Tree…”
Li Qiye waved his hand to interrupt him: “Citadel Lord, I know what you are thinking. You want to know if I will be successful or not.”
He looked at the lord and insipidly continued: “I can tell you that it is not yet done. Life replenishment can’t be completed in a day or two, so there is no need to hide it. However, since I have come here, I am confident about curing your ancestral vine. It is time for you to cast aside your doubts so that you can answer one question, will your citadel be able to pay this price?”
“I can guarantee that I will be able to fully cure your tree, but my asking price is exorbitant.” Li Qiye uttered clearly: “This depends on if you are willing to pay or not!”
The citadel lord stood up to bow once more: “I was being presumptuous. Sir, if you have such capabilities, then nothing could be better. Just name the price, our citadel will not disappoint you—”
Li Qiye interrupted him once more while shaking his head: “Citadel Lord, do not be so quick to accept, give it a moment. Should you still decline when the time comes, don’t blame me for not giving you an easy way out.”
The lord’s heart trembled a bit, but he was already prepared. He solemnly replied: “Sir, just tell us what you want.”
In fact, before meeting Li Qiye, the citadel lord had already arranged for everything. When Teng Jiwen reported this to the ancestors, they had discussed this matter in detail. If someone could actually cure the ancestral vine, the citadel would do its best to accommodate that person.
The truth was that the upper echelons were prepared for this as well. After all, they had assessed the potential cost earlier. An item desired by a supreme alchemist would, of course, be invaluable.
Naturally, they were also quite confident. After several generations of accumulating wealth, they could take out any treasure or great medicine. Regardless of what this alchemist wanted, they would still be able to afford the price.
“Well, in a sense, what I want is not that difficult for your Heavenvine Citadel to provide.” He leisurely smiled and said: “I’m not asking for much. To cure your ancestral vine, only your Heavenvine Calabash will be enough.”
“The Heavenvine Calabash!” Even Teng Jiwen blurted after hearing the request.
The citadel lord became silly. He stared at Li Qiye and stammered: “Sir… you, you really want the Heavenvine Calabash?”
Li Qiye flatly confirmed: “That’s right, as long as you can give me the calabash, I will cure your ancestral vine fully.”
Very quickly, both the citadel lord and Teng Jiwen became slack-jawed. The calabash was too important to the citadel. In their minds, even if they had imperial weapons, the calabash was still worth much more.
“Sir, I’m, I’m afraid this isn’t possible.” The lord calmed down and shook his head. Such a request was out of the question for both him and the citadel as a whole.
“It seems like, in your mind, the ancestral vine isn’t worth as much as a single Heavenvine Calabash.” Li Qiye laughed and said: “This is truly disappointing. It looks like your treefather’s lineage only has a bunch of short-sighted old geezers.”
The citadel lord proceeded with some helplessness: “Sir, you must know that the calabash is unique. Our ancestral vine produced just one. We’ll lose too much without the calabash…”
Li Qiye waved his hand and interrupted him dismissively: “I know the usage of the calabash. To keep it simple, those old geezers rely on it to prolong their lives, the undying ones buried underground that is. All in all, they are not willing to die and want to live longer by using the calabash.”
The lord was put in a difficult situation. He coughed and said: “Sir, it is good that you know the usage of the calabash. The truth is that your demand is too much. Could you consider asking for something else? If you want, we have two nine transformations soulgrasses, or we can give some divine weapons, ancient scrolls from the human race, or even immortal dewdrops from a heavenly tree…”
Li Qiye stopped him short once more: “Citadel Lord, I don’t care for such things, only the Heavenvine Calabash will suffice.”
Li Qiye’s firm attitude halted the conversation. The citadel lord had no response because too many ancestors required the calabash for their own lifespan. The citadel simply couldn’t hand it over.
“Sir, can you reconsider…” The lord was quite helpless as he tried to persuade Li Qiye.
Li Qiye looked at him and smiled: “In your mind, is this calabash really more precious than the ancestral vine?”
“Of course not.” The lord denied right away with an awkward chuckle.
“I know very well that all of you want to maintain an optimistic outlook. In your minds, the ancestral vine’s issue can wait a bit. If it can’t be dealt with right now, then you’ll wait until the next generation. In short, your tree is still young and can live for a long time…
“… But have you ever thought of the day when your ancestral vine will actually fall?!” Li Qiye coldly looked at the lord: “Once your treefather falls, what will be left of the Heavenvine Citadel? Your numerous mountains and countless palaces are all built on the vine tree. The day of your ancestral vine’s destruction will be the day when your citadel falls into ruins…
“… How many of your islands are actually supported by the earth and sea? Only around ten or twenty percent at best. Compared to Golden Isle, your citadel is only a pavilion in the air. They have thousands and thousands of islands that are supported by the earth and rooted in the oceans to gain great stability! What about you lot?” He snorted at this point. 1
“Well, well…” The citadel lord had to admit: “We are indeed not as great as Golden Isle.”
Li Qiye went on with his criticism: “Your citadel wants to believe in luck. Because your ancestral vine is still in its prime, you think that as long as you leave behind enough ancestors and train a new treefather out of them… With this plan in mind, there will be no need to do more since your pillar is still there, and that there is ample time. All of your resources are being poured elsewhere.” He said with a laugh: “Even if this generation cannot deal with it, the next might be able to, or the one after that.”
Even though the citadel lord knew that Li Qiye was ridiculing them, he was not in a position to fight back and could only smile wryly: “Our citadel has been looking for an alchemist to cure our ancestral vine.”
“Yes, you all are still searching because death is not in the corners of your eyes just yet. Thus, you are not in a rush at all.” Li Qiye grinned.
The citadel lord had nothing to say. Li Qiye was correct in his analysis of their current plan and beliefs. They were taking their time to find a suitable alchemist to treat their ancestral vine’s calamity.
1. Reminder, “pavilion in the air” is an idiom meaning unrealistic utopia/imaginary future plan.