This was a long journey since Li Qiye took his time. This barefoot walk might be a type of torture to others, but Li Qiye was enjoying it. He was able to let go of everything in this desert.
His goal, at the moment, was to leave the desert. All else was left behind.
“Little friend, we meet again.” A carpet appeared above Li Qiye again. It was Yi Chuan’s group.
Li Qiye looked at them and smiled: “It seems like all of you had a fruitful trip.”
Without a doubt, the juniors behind Yi Chuan were a lot more lively than last time. They must have had a good training session.
The excited A’Li smiled and blurted out: “We obtained a lot of ores.”
“A’Li, you can’t just expose having treasures to others or they’ll be tempted.” A’Bao, as the senior brother, quickly reminded his junior sister.
In his eyes, Li Qiye was only an outsider. Such information naturally couldn’t be revealed to an outsider since it might bring about unnecessary problems.
Li Qiye smiled and told A’Li while ignoring A’Bao: “I was talking about your dao heart and spirit. Compared to these benefits, the ores are just external materials. There will be many chances for treasures later on, but dao heart training is not only a process, it is a type of fate. Such gains cannot be found all the time.”
“Little friend, that is quite profound.” Yi Chuan couldn’t help but praise. He looked at Li Qiye with growing skepticism. These weren’t words that should come from a young man. It sounded like something a weather-beaten and experienced man should say.
“Just a casual remark.” Li Qiye smiled without complacency. Such phrases truly were casual remarks to him.
“That’s all theoretical.” A’Bao snorted. He was dissatisfied with Li Qiye regardless of what he said due to having some prejudice against him.
Yi Chuan smiled and asked Li Qiye: “Are you still training? Do you want me to bring you the rest of the way?”
Li Qiye looked ahead and shook his head: “No need, it doesn’t look like it’ll be long until I’m able to leave this desert. I’ll just go by myself.”
“Not bad.” Yi Chuan gave him a thumbs-up and said: “Walking barefoot through the Void Trap Desert is not a difficult task for cultivators. The hardship lies in the trouble; how many cultivators would be willing to bear this burden as a mortal? It requires great perseverance, it’s definitely not easy.”
Cultivators were able to do many things. However, they would usually grow used to being high above others. Many of them would not be willing to act as a mortal again.
“All of you should be learning from this dao brother. Cultivation is not just about honing your merit laws, it is also about training your willpower and determination to sharpen your mind.” Yi Chuan turned around and told his disciples. He wanted to use Li Qiye as a role model.
The disciples were quiet. They could only listen to their senior. Of course, they didn’t pay Li Qiye’s words any mind. In their eyes, Li Qiye was only a nobody, someone not much better than a mortal. There was nothing worth learning from him. The majority of them considered themselves to be much better than him. They came from a great sect and had trained in powerful merit laws from a young age and took in wondrous medicines. In their eyes, learning from Li Qiye, who was basically a mortal, was a shameful matter.
“Little friend, I won’t bother you any longer. May we meet again in the future.” Yi Chuan bid his farewell in a very polite manner.
He had a noble status as the ruler of a country. However, he was exceptional in one regard — his vision was not something the disciples behind him could compare to. In his eyes, although Li Qiye was a vagrant cultivator, he would have a colorful future due to his dao heart and determination.
He really liked young people with great perseverance like Li Qiye. These were the ones who were most likely to have big success.
Li Qiye smiled and also bid farewell to Yi Chuan before continuing on his way.
After walking for another long period of time, he finally made it out of the desert and was met by a wave of humidity.
Right outside the desert was a land full of water. There were rolling green hills and rivers all around. One could see boats setting sail and rowing on the currents. Under the sparkling waves, the fat fishes jumped out of the water while heron swept by across the surface. On both sides of the river were green puffs of smoke as if this was a paradise.
The contrast between a desert and a land with a great river made it seem like two different worlds meeting here. It gave the sensation of stepping from an arid land to a prosperous location that could only exist in a painting!
Anyone would become relaxed while walking in this land of paradise.
Li Qiye emotionally commented: “Jiangnan River, Southern Border.” This was indeed a nice and refreshing location. Each time he came by here, he would stay for some time due to his adoration of the place.
The desert was next to the primal ground while the Southern Border was next to the desert, a rich land full of water. Anyone would feel that creation was such a magical thing. A land with a mighty river and a desert separated by only one path — this was quite difficult to believe.
The Southern Barren Earth was huge and contained many things. The entire place was quite fertile, especially the most southern region. This southern region was called the Southern Border or Land of the Southern Tang. 1
The reason why it had this name was that it was under the jurisdiction of a nation named Southern Tang. The Southern Border didn’t only consist of the Southern Tang. In fact, there were more than ten different nations here along with countless other small sects.
However, all of these nations were tributaries of Southern Tang, the biggest lineage in the Southern Border.
The weak being subservient to the strong, smaller sects being under great sects — such things were too common in the world of cultivation. However, it was different in this region. Southern Tang did not bother with managing their tributary states or interfering with their affairs.
To a large extent, the status of tributary was only in name. The smaller nations didn’t need to pay tributes or act as vassals. At the same time, they were very supportive of Southern Tang as well. There were very few disputes, so the citizens in this region were able to lead peaceful lives, just like living in a paradise.
Li Qiye made it to an ancient city after a little walking. This particular city was different compared to the others in this region. There were no high walls or huge pathways, just a clear lack of magnificent architecture. Surrounding this city was a river that branched to each corner of the premises.
As long as one had a boat, they would be able to go anywhere in this city. There were many huge trees here offering their shade. Flowing water was everywhere and gave a pleasant yet all-encompassing feeling.
Li Qiye was quite tattered at this moment with dirt all over his face. He looked like a mortal in the city. At best, people would only consider him to be a beggar.
Cultivators wouldn’t give him a second glance, only mortals would throw him a few coins at times.
Li Qiye didn’t have to go too far before receiving a lot of coins. The reason was quite simple, this was a land of plenty. People had homes and jobs so the mortals here were quite well off. They were willing to give to a beggar like Li Qiye.
Li Qiye couldn’t help but smile while looking at the coins in his hand. He put them away anyway.
As he walked by a huge tree that blotted out the sky, a familiar voice rang out: “Little friend, care to come for a drink?”
This towering tree grew near the river. There was a finely-crafted winehouse in its shade. It was clear that not just anyone could come here to drink.
There were more than ten cultivators next to the street of the restaurants. They could be considered Li Qiye’s acquaintances since they were all part of Yi Chuan’s group.
Yi Chuan held a wine cup and greeted Li Qiye in a polite manner.
Li Qiye smiled back and strode inside before sitting down confidently before Yi Chuan. This forced the disciples sitting next to Yi Chuan to make some room.
A few disciples were very unhappy to see Li Qiye acting so disrespectfully before their royal lord. However, Yi Chuan didn’t mind at all. He had taken quite a liking to this young man ahead of him.
“Deference is no substitute for obedience.” Li Qiye sat down and said with a smile. 2
Li Qiye’s downtrodden look and his confident attitude conflicted with each other. However, it seemed so natural when it was Li Qiye doing it.
1. Southern Tang was also known as Jiangnan, the river listed above. The author is using real locations for names right now, so I’m keeping the pinyin. 2. This phrase means that it is better to say yes than to say no in a respectful manner. It’s more of a polite, conversational tool.