Chapter 48 – Fu Shan’s Request

The Apricot Cottage.

When Su Yi returned from beyond city limits, he saw someone entirely unexpected waiting for him.

City Lord Fu Shan!

“Master Su.” Fu Shan smiled and stepped forward to greet him.
“I came uninvited.
I hope you won’t take offense.”

This time, he addressed Su Yi as “Master”, just like Xiao Tianque and Zi Jin.

This was a show of respect, as well as an indication that Fu Shan no longer saw Su Yi as a mere youth. 

Su Yi said thoughtfully, “City Lord Fu, have you encountered a problem you can’t resolve on your own?”

“I knew I couldn’t hide it from you.” Fu Shan sighed, a hint of worry on his brow.
“I’m here with a presumptuous request, and I hope you can assist me.”

“Let’s hear it.” Su Yi nodded.

Fu Shan paused to organize his thoughts, then said, “The Dragon’s Gate Banquet starts in three days.
At first, everything was well under control, but yesterday, I received a letter from the Cloudfall City Lord, Li Jianyu.

“In it, he suggested that we use this year’s Dragon’s Gate Banquet to settle our dispute over Spiritbamboo Island’s ownership.

“If a youth of Guangling City takes the martial arts championship, the island will enter our jurisdiction.
The city lord’s estate will take control of it for a period of ten years.

“But if the championship goes to Cloudfall City, the island will fall under their domain.”

Su Yi was starting to understand.
“Is there something special about this Spiritbamboo Island?”

“Indeed there is.” Fu Shan explained, “The island is thirty miles away from Guangling City along the Great Azure.
It's an island in the middle of the river.

“It’s only about three hundred feet across, but it’s a blessed land of concentrated spiritual energy.
It includes a thirty-foot bamboo grove.
The bamboo is a special variety called ‘Bluejade Spirit Bamboo.’

“The bamboo is like lustrous jade, bright and flourishing.
Every inch of it is a treasure.
The roots, shoots, and leaves are all like spiritual medicines, brimming with ample wood element spiritual energy.

“And the mature bamboo is a precious spiritual material.
If you use it to make weapons, the results are extraordinary, like divine artifacts.

In the past, Guangling City and Cloudfall City took turns controlling Spiritbamboo Island.
The island would change hands every three years. 

“But ever since Li Jianyu became the Cloudfall City Lord two years ago, he’s seemed intent on ripping up our former agreement.
He no longer acknowledges our earlier rules, and he intends to bring Spiritbamboo Island entirely under his control.

“Over the past two years, we’ve clashed over Spiritbamboo Island on numerous occasions, and our conflict has only worsened over time.
If we don’t resolve it soon, I’m afraid a violent struggle is sure to follow.” When he said this, Fu Shan laughed bitterly.

Su Yi said, “It sounds like he’s suggesting resolving this matter at the Dragon’s Gate Banquet.
Isn’t that exactly what you wanted?”

Fu Shan sighed.
“Had I known about his suggestion earlier, I would have been happy to agree to his terms, but he only informed me last night.
That makes this difficult.” 

“Why is that?” Su Yi’s eyebrows shot up.

“All young martial artists aged eighteen and under are eligible to participate in the Dragon’s Gate Banquet.
Had I known about this earlier, I would have prepared and arranged for some capable young talents to participate.” Fu Shan patiently explained, “But time is short; I don’t have time to make such arrangements.
By comparison, that Li Jianyu suggested this implies that he’s long since prepared for it and is fully confident.”

Su Yi nodded.
“That Li Jianyu is quite crafty.”

Fu Shan said coldly, “That old fox is ruthless and crafty.
He’s never fought any battle he isn’t certain he can win, and this time is no exception.
I’ve already investigated, and it seems he’s long since arranged for a young genius called ‘Mo Tianling’ to take part in the competition.

“Mo Tianling hails from Cloudfall City’s Mo Family.
He’s eighteen, and he’s at the peak of the Blood Circulation Realm.
He spent two years cultivating at Blueriver Sword Manor.

“Afterward, he left Cloudriver Prefecture and joined the Cloudlight Marquis’ Redscale Army.
He’s spent over a year engaged in slaughter on the battlefield, and he’s grown long accustomed to life-and-death battles.
He’s accumulated numerous merits, too.

“A ruthless, experienced fighter like him isn’t someone our academy students, kids who’ve never seen bloodshed, can handle.” Fu Shan sounded fraught with concern, and his brow was tightly knit.

“So it’s him!” The name felt a little familiar, and Su Yi quickly recalled where he’d heard it.

During his three years cultivating in Blueriver Sword Manor, Mo Tianling was already an inner sect disciple. 

He was cold and harsh, his temper violent and unpredictable.
He’d once brutally severed a sectmate’s right arm in a duel, angering the sect’s higher-ups.
In the end, they kicked him out. 

Su Yi wouldn’t have guessed he’d hear his name again now, years later.

“Master Su, I know that it’s unreasonable to ask someone of your status to participate in such a contest, but I really don’t know what else to do,” said Fu Shan.
Su Yi’s silence was starting to make him nervous, and his heart pounded in his chest.
“It’s fine if you choose to abstain; I can try and think of an alternative solution.”

At first, he hadn’t even considered asking Su Yi for help.

It was only after Nie Beihu reminded him that he suddenly recalled that Master Su, whose brilliance even the Spiritjade Marchioness respected, was only seventeen years old!

At his age, he was naturally qualified to participate in the Dragon’s Gate Banquet.

Thus, after hesitating for quite some time, Fu Shan made up his mind, thickened his skin, and requested Su Yi’s aid.

Of course, he didn’t expect someone of Su Yi’s status to agree lightly.
He was here because he thought it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Su Yi suddenly asked, “I heard that Blueriver Sword Manor’s Zhou Huaiqiu and Ni Hao are here.
Why not ask Ni Hao to participate?” 

Fu Shan grimaced and shook his head.
“First, there’s no connection between me and Zhou Huaiqiu.
Second, he and Ni Hao have been staying with the Li Family.
As you know, last time at the Wen Family matriarch’s birthday, my attitude left Li Tianhan deeply displeased, so….”

Su Yi nodded.
“I understand.
How about this? When the Dragon’s Gate Banquet starts, I’ll head on over.”

No matter what else he might say, Fu Shan had done him a huge favor back at the Immortal Gathering House.
Sure, it had been on another’s orders, but Su Yi couldn’t be ungrateful.

Now that Fu Shan had come to him for aid, he naturally wouldn’t just sit back and ignore him.

His opponent might be unworthy of consideration, but the lantern-lit river was a sight to behold.

Fu Shan was overcome with delight.
He clasped his fist and said, “Master Su, with you there, the outcome is secure.
I am no longer the least bit worried!”

He then quickly bade Su Yi farewell and left.

Su Yi, meanwhile, turned and entered his room, took off his clothes, and sank into the medicinal bath he’d prepared in his wooden bathtub.

He’d agreed to participate in the Dragon’s Gate Banquet, but he was still more concerned about his personal cultivation. 

Over the past few days, Huang Qianjun had brought him a bone broth prepared with boiled medicinal herbs every morning. 

Add that to his supply of fifty spirit stones, and Su Yi’s cultivation was proceeding at a shocking pace.

Just the night before, he’d reached the very pinnacle of the Refining Sinew stage.
His tendons and ligaments were like a young dragon’s, soft and flexible, yet bursting with explosive power. 

If he met the Opening Acupoints stage Wu Ruoqiu now, he could kill him effortlessly.

As expected, now that I’ve begun ‘Refining Bone’, ordinary medicinal herbs have become essentially useless….. Before long, Su Yi furrowed his brow and rose from his bath.
His body looked lean, but beneath his clear white skin, his muscles were like carved jade.

His physique wasn’t exactly “bulky”, but every inch of his skin, flesh, blood, and sinew contained enough power to leave an ordinary martial artist in the dust.

He wiped himself off, got dressed, and sat on his bed in the lotus position, a spirit stone in each hand.

Refining Bone was the final stage of the Blood Circulation Realm.

This stage was far harder to cultivate to perfection than Refining Sinew.
The core problem was that tempering one’s skeleton until the “marrow like frost” level was too difficult!

The vast majority of the Great Zhou’s martial artists remained stuck in this stage for their entire lives, unable to achieve higher breakthroughs. 

Guangling City.

Here, Blood Circulation Realm cultivators were as numerous as the hairs on an ox, but there were only a handful of Qi Accumulation Realm experts.

This was because it was too difficult to complete “Refining Bone.” It was like an enormous, impassable gorge that prevented many from breaking through to higher realms.

But to Su Yi, the challenge wasn’t the process of Refining Bone, but rather, acquiring sufficient cultivation resources to do so.

Before this, he could still use ordinary medicinal herbs to support his cultivation, but by now, ordinary medicines were no longer of any use.

He needed spiritual medicines, spirit stones, or to cultivate in places with dense spiritual energy!

But all three were unquestionably rare within the Great Zhou’s borders. 

I still have more than thirty first-tier spirit stones.
Without any spiritual medicines as supplements, I’ll burn through five spirit stones a day….
I can’t let things go on like this.
I should consider leaving Guangling City, Su Yi thought as he cultivated. 

The Great Zhou’s territory was vast, encompassing six provinces and thirty six prefectures. 

Each province encompassed six prefectures, and each prefecture had numerous cities.

Like Cloudriver Prefecture.
It was just one of Gunzhou, the Imperatorial Province’s six prefectures.
It alone included nineteen cities. 

Guangling City was just one of them. 

Within the vast territories of the Great Zhou, Guangling City was just a remote little city at best.

Years ago, Su Yi had chosen the Cloudriver Prefecture’s Blueriver Sword Manor specifically because he liked how remote it was; it was extremely far from the Jade Capital’s Su Family.

In doing so, he hoped to escape the Jade Capital’s Su Family’s influence. 

But against all expectations, the very day he lost his cultivation, the Su Family’s power located him almost alright away!

As such, shortly after Su Yi reawakened his memories, he made a decision—

He’d wait until his cultivation reached the peak of the Blood Circulation Realm to leave Guangling City. 

That way, he’d have enough strength to fight back should he encounter any trouble.

But things were different now.

Guangling City was ultimately too remote to have much in the way of cultivation resources.
It was sparse and barren as could be.

If he wanted to continue cultivating, he had to consider finding somewhere with more abundant resources.

Like the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital. 

An old saying went, “Even the cleverest housewife can’t cook without ingredients.” Su Yi couldn’t work without resources, either.

I don’t have to rush to leave, and no matter what, I have to visit the Azurecloud Mountains before I go. Su Yi certainly hadn’t forgotten about the Six-Severings Yin Corpse in Mother Ghost Ridge, nor about the Six Yin Grass or Extreme Yang Flowers.

It was highly likely that an inauspicious yin spirit vein was hidden there!

Oh! Rumor has it that Mother Ghost Ridge has a long history of giving rise to various apparitions.
When I visit, I should take Qing Wan with me. Su Yi recalled the lady ghost in the Soul-Nurturing Gourd, and his eyebrows shot up.

The girl’s spiritual affinity wasn’t the least bit shallow!

Neither the inauspicious yin spirit vein nor the Six Yin Grasses were useful to him at his current cultivation.

But to a low-class yin spirit like her, they were enormously beneficial!

Three days later.

Countless spectators would watch the curtains open on the Dragon’s Gate Banquet this very night. 

Su Yi stepped into the morning light and proceeded to the riverside mulberry grove as always.

To him, this was almost no different from any other day. 

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