Of course, for Li Qiye, who had seen countless treasures, no matter what Ancient Pine’s gift was, it wouldn’t enter his sight. Li Qiye said: “Take it, maybe you will have a use for it.”
Shi Hao calmed down. He obediently listened to Li Qiye and accepted the box.
Li Qiye added: “Take whatever you can with you. Perhaps you will stay there from now on after this trip. As long as you work hard, the Giant Bamboo Country will not mistreat you.”
Shi Hao respectfully replied: “I will remember Brother Li’s words.” He engraved these words into his heart.
Outside of those close to him, Li Qiye wouldn’t easily pass down merit laws or his alchemy dao to just anyone. His decision to teach Shi Hao was not only because he held high regards for Shi Hao, he also wanted to train him out of love for the Giant Bamboo Country so that it could have an alchemist with high potential later on.
Shi Hao went to gather his luggage. He was a bit unwilling at first, but in the end, he made up his mind and decided to go with Li Qiye to the capital. He was still young and couldn’t contain his excitement.
The group followed the monarch to the capital. Ancient Pine was very attentive and acted respectfully as if he was a servant. This was quite a fascinating scene since the monarch was one of the eighteen demon monarchs of the Giant Bamboo Country, a great character who presided over an entire domain. But now, he was someone else’s servant — this was quite difficult to believe.
However, the monarch was clear on the fact that he was allowed to attend to Li Qiye because Li Qiye liked him. Otherwise, he would not even be qualified to act as his attendant.
Meanwhile, Bai Weng played second fiddle to the monarch and took care of the menial tasks.
The Giant Bamboo Country’s capital was a big and extremely prosperous city where demons and golems gathered.
The moment one set foot inside, they would see a gigantic tree growing from the depths of the imperial palace, a tree that towered all the way up into the clouds and covered half of the sky.
The capital was enveloped by the shadow of this bamboo tree, creating quite a scenic picture. The lushful green shade of the tree would amaze any new visitor to the city.
The name of the country came from this huge bamboo tree. Rumor has it that the country would remain strong for as long as the tree continued to live; some people believed that the tree was also a lot older than the Giant Bamboo Country.
No one in present times could state the origin of this tree, and there were very few writings about it even in the imperial palace. Another legend dictated that this was the Divine Guardian of the country, that the tree itself was an invincible god that had always protected the country. This was the reason why this country continued to exist for millions of years.
Despite this speculation, no one had ever seen the Divine Guardian take action before. For the past millions of years, the country enjoyed peace free of large-scale wars since no one ever attacked its capital.
It was a haven for demons. Although there were many golems here as well, it was still dominated by the demon race.
However, the progenitor of the country was neither golem nor demon. Those who didn’t know about this particular piece of history would be shocked after learning this fact.
The old tales stated that the progenitor was the most amazing goddess or marvelous immortal fairy. It didn’t matter whether she was a deity or an immortal, the progenitor was extremely powerful during that era.
Although the written records about the progenitor were scarce, it was a huge event in the entire Nine Worlds when she founded the Giant Bamboo Country.
At its inception, countless sects and tribes from all over the Nine Worlds came to celebrate the occasion, including the monstrous existences in the Stone Medicine World like the Alchemy Kingdom and the Jianlong Clan. The most popular rumor was that even the Immortal Emperor of that generation personally came!
Future generations were very skeptical of this matter. They felt that these records belonging to the Bamboo Country could have been embellished to flatter itself.
However, this was not only limited to the country’s records, even the Alchemy Kingdom had the same tales in their historical annals.
These few words were shocking enough. All the races and Godkings and even an Immortal Emperor from all over the worlds came to visit!
The writings about the progenitor herself were very scarce as well. Some wrote that she was an immortal while others believed that she was a goddess.
Her origin and background remained a mystery and was without any records. What kind of existence was worthy of such respect that all the great existences over the Nine Worlds came to celebrate?
There were some debates regarding the personal arrival of an Immortal Emperor. This was written in the Giant Bamboo’s records, but other lineages believed that the emperor only sent his congratulations and did not personally attend. Nevertheless, it was clear that even an Immortal Emperor was alerted of the founding of the Giant Bamboo Country.
Such a history was heavily debated in the Giant Bamboo Country and even throughout the Alchemy Realm. All were confused by why the Giant Bamboo Progenitor establishing her own country was such a big deal.
Despite the commotion of its founding, the country had never been powerful enough in the past millions of years to compare to any imperial lineage. In fact, it didn’t even belong in the top rankings for great powers, but it had always been at peace. Even until now, no great powers or imperial lineages had dared to attack the Giant Bamboo Country.
This always-peaceful country followed the system where its royal lord position would be passed down to the most capable person. Thus, despite not being a strong country, it was heaven for those desiring a mundane life, especially for ordinary mortals.
Li Qiye and his group entered the capital. The four of them harbored different emotions and thoughts.
Shi Hao, the youngest of the group, was especially excited for his first visiting the capital. He looked around like a country bumpkin visiting a city for the first time and was especially shaken to see the huge bamboo tree that pierced into the clouds.
Of course, the boy was ecstatic since his dream was to visit the capital. Today, it had been fulfilled, so how could he not be overwhelmed with joy?
As for Li Qiye, complex emotions ran rampant as he looked at the huge bamboo tree up in the clouds and the capital below.
After so many years, the Giant Bamboo Country was still here. The bamboo tree was still here, but his old acquaintances were gone. After Yan’er left, Li Qiye still visited the Giant Bamboo Country very often. However, in future generations, every time he came to the Stone Medicine World, he only stayed outside to look at this old city from afar as well as its vast scenery instead of entering the capital.
To Li Qiye, this was a place that contained many memories that would evoke sadness upon remembrance.
In this life, Li Qiye had finally stepped inside the capital. Although the people living here were no longer the same, Li Qiye still wanted to see this country established by Yan’er as well as visit a few places from so many years ago.
Since Li Qiye was silent, Bai Weng and Ancient Pine next to him especially didn’t dare to speak. Only the young Shi Hao was excited and found interest in everything within his gaze.
It was already nighttime when they reached the capital. Ancient Pine had his own mansion in the capital so he invited Li Qiye to his place, saying: “Young Noble, you must be tired from the long trip. It is now dark, so how about you stay here and rest?”
Li Qiye wanted to stay at the capital for a while, thus he was not in a hurry and nodded his agreement.
After arranging a place for Li Qiye as well as telling the servants to treat him with the utmost care, Ancient Pine quickly entered the imperial palace to seek an audience with the Demon King.
“Demon Monarch, what matter requires that you need to see me at night?” Madam Zi Yan curiously asked after the monarch asked to see her at this time of day.
Ancient Pine quickly said: “Your Majesty, I want to introduce to you an alchemist. You must get him to stay!”
In addition to being very humble and open-minded, Madam Zi Yan was a wise king and always searched for talents. After hearing this, she shook her head and said: “Elder Pine, recently, all the monarchs have been recommending me alchemists. A few of them aren’t bad, but you don’t need to be so hasty like this.” 1
“No, Your Majesty, Young Noble Li is peerless. Those other alchemists can’t compare to him! I wouldn’t be in such a hurry if it was an ordinary alchemist.” Ancient Pine quickly added: “It is more apt to say that we need to beseech such a supreme alchemist like Young Noble Li.”
Madam Zi Yan was quite surprised and asked: “He is that great? How does he compare to the four alchemy prodigies?”
“Those four are nothing compared to Young Noble Li.” Ancient Pine quickly answered: “The future Alchemy Emperor will be Young Noble Li for sure!”
“Elder Pine, you have to consider carefully before saying such words.” Madam Zi Yan was stunned and had to speak in a serious tone. All eighteen demon monarchs were experienced and were not the impetuous type. However, Ancient Pine’s words just now were very grave, so Madam Zi Yan had no choice but to act with discretion.
1. Pine = Song. I believe the more accurate translation here would be, Elder Song, since Song might actually be his name too, but Pine is okay I suppose.