AST 811 - Liu-Li's Parents, Demon Gate
"The Firecloud Blacksmith Store...?"
Qing Shui asked, feeling puzzled but he immediately regretted. He should not have asked. He could tell from Huoyun Liu-Li's expression that it was not something happy for her to bring up.
"You've seen that middle-aged man from the Firecloud Blacksmith Store, right? He's my foster father. The blacksmith store was not called the Firecloud Blacksmith Store in the past. After they've picked me up, being the honest people they were and seeing the words Huoyun Liu-Li engraved on the jade pendant I had on me, it became my name. My foster parents had no kids of their own and they were so happy when they picked me up, they even changed the name of the blacksmith store they had inherited from their ancestors into ‘Firecloud Blacksmith Store’." When Huoyun Liu-Li spoke about her foster father, a warm smile appeared on her face.
Qing Shui felt relieved. When he first met that middle-aged man back then, Qing Shui thought that he must had a beautiful wife, otherwise, it would have been impossible for him to had such a beautiful daughter like Huoyun Liu-Li.
"I don’t know why my foster father made me continue on using this name instead of following his surname. He even told me that I wasn't their own flesh and blood. I would prefer to be never told about this."
Qing Shui now realized that everyone and every family had their own stories. It was no wonder that they said that there's a skeleton in every house. He had known Huoyun Liu-Li for quite long time, but he only got to know this story of her’s today.
When faced with such matters, Qing Shui had no idea on what to say. She was usually very cheerful but she had not really feel so happy in her heart. After all, no matter who it is, no one would feel happy about it if the same situation had happened to them.. To be abandoned by her birth parents, this was much more depressing that Shi Qingzhuang's situation. At the very least, Shi Qingzhuang knew who her parents were, she had her dearest grandfather, had a family and relatives she was related to by blood. However, it was different for Huoyun Liu-Li. Without a family who were related to you by blood, one would also feel out of sorts. This might be the reason why she doesn't stay at home that much.
"They should have their difficulties, otherwise, who would bear to part with such a cute daughter?" Qing Shui consoled Huoyun Liu-Li gently.
"Alright, let's not talk about them. Anyway, I've neither seen them before nor have any relations to them. Moreover, there's no way for me to meet them. I'll forever be the child of my foster parents." Huoyun Liu-Li smiled and said.
The more one acted that they did not care about something, the more it showed that they did really mind.
However, Qing Shui did not say much. He merely flew toward Huoyun Liu-Li to the Hundred Miles City, looking at her with pity. This was a lady who needed more love and concern.
The Firecloud Blacksmith Store was the same as before. While it was not considered reputable in the Hundred Miles City, no one would dare to come here looking for trouble. It was because the bigger clans knew that the man in the Firecloud Blacksmith Store had a strong daughter in the country.
Back then, Huoyun Liu-Li was managing the "Earthly Paradise" in the Cang Lang Country.
He had also met Huoyun Liu-Li there, and eventually they were brought together by marriage.
Qing Shui and Huoyun Liu-Li walked side by side into the Firecloud Blacksmith Store. There were people around the store, looking at the weapons on display. Further in, there was a middle-aged man forging weapons as well as two young individuals who were smelting and forging iron.
"Father!" When Huoyun Liu-Li saw the middle-aged man, she smiled happily and called out to him.
Stunned, the middle-aged man lifted his head and saw Huoyun Liu-Li. Putting down his hammer, he broke into an infectious smile.It was a happiness that came from deep within.
"Lass, you're back." The middle-aged man walked out and said happily.
Qing Shui assessed this middle-aged man. He was in his fifties, with a burly and strong physique. His arms looked muscular and strong too.
Huoyun Liu-Li went up to grab this man by the arm and smiled happily.
"Lass, I'm dirty. Come, let's go in. Your mother misses you dearly and has been nagging on when you'd be coming back." The man said happily.
This was a good father, an honest and down-to-earth man.
It was only then that the man seemed to had noticed Qing Shui. A hint of surprised appeared on his face before he smiled and looked at Huoyun Liu-Li, "So our lass has someone she likes now. Why aren't you introducing him to your father?"
A hint of blush appeared on Huoyun Liu-Li's face, "He's called Qing Shui..."
"Oh, I remember you. Qing Shui who was previously in the Hundred Miles City. I've seen you, you've come here before." The man seemed to be struck by realization before he spoke.
This guy's memory was quite good.
"Hello uncle!" Qing Shui bowed and greeted the man politely.
"Come, let's go in. There's no need to stand on ceremony. Since you're someone lass had set her sights on, then you're also my kin now. Don't mind that our status is low and can’t be compared to the Shi Clan." The man grabbed Qing Shui's and said with a laugh.
Seemed like he knew about Qing Shui being engaged to Shi Qingzhuang.
"Father, what are you going on about." Huoyun Liu-Li said reproachfully.
"Uncle, please be assured. I can swear here to god that I'll definitely treat Liu-Li well. If I were to let her down, I'll be struck by lightning." Qing Shui said with all solemnness to the man.
"Qing Shui, what are you doing..."
If Huoyun Liu-Li was this man's flesh and blood, he wouldn't say anything like this. Qing Shui had always felt that making an oath was a foolish thing to do. It was not because he was a type of person that would go back on his promises. However, there were some things that even making an oath wouldn’t help if one lacked the capability. People who could go back on their words would treat the most vicious oaths like just an ordinary occurrence.
However, Qing Shui felt that he needed to express himself now.
"Haha, alright. Even a country bumpkin like me can tell the sincerity behind these words. I only hope that the lass could find someone who'd be able to treat her well." The man smiled and said. However, Qing Shui could still see a hint of worry in his eyes.
The man let the two younger guys continued to watch the shop while the three of them headed towards the back. Once they did, they heard some sounds and a plain looking lady walked out.
The lady should be in her forties and her plain clothes made her look even more amiable. When she saw Huoyun Liu-Li, she cried out in surprise. "Liu-Li is back!"
Huoyun Liu-Li went up to hug the woman and called out happily.
The woman patted Huoyun Liu-Li on the back and said, "Let the guest come in."
"Mother, he is Qing Shui." Huoyun Liu-Li smiled and said.
"Qing Clan's Qing Shui. It's good lass, you've found a good person." The woman smiled and looked at Qing Shui.
"Qing Shui pays respect to aunty." Qing Shui once again bowed respectfully.
Qing Shui also took out the gifts he had prepared earlier, passing them to the couple. There were also the Beauty Pellet and two Xiantian Golden Pellets. This was his way of helping Huoyun Liu-Li's parents.
The two of them were very happy to received such gifts. With a slight hesitation, they received the gifts, not standing on ceremony with him. This also made Qing Shui felt happy, he prefered honest and down-to-earth people like them.
Although taking the Xiantian Golden Pellet would imply that they would only remain at the Xiantian level for all their lives, to them, this was like an elixir that was even more precious than mountains of riches.
With a lifespan of five hundred years managing this blacksmith shop, even with a small sum of money, they would also be able to lead a carefree life in the Hundred Miles City.
After everyone got to know each other, they had their lunch. The woman then brought Huoyun Liu-Li upstairs to have a chat, leaving the man and Qing Shui together.
"Qing Shui, I feel that there are some things that we should tell you." After giving it some thought, the man spoke up.
Qing Shui was stunned for a moment. However, he already knew what the man had wanted to say, it was about their relationship with Huoyun Liu-Li. He smiled and said, "Uncle, please go on."
"Lass isn't our flesh and blood." The man sighed softly and said.
"Mmm, I know. Liu-Li has told me about it."
"I don't know if it's good or bad that Liu-Li is with you. Although you've already shown your sincerity, I'd still like to say it again. If there's something that's very tough to accomplish that stands between you and the lass, will you do it?" After giving it some thought, the man said.
Qing Shui thought about it before he smiled and said, "As long as it's something that's good for Liu-Li and if Liu-Li is agreeable, I'll do it."
"This matter is extremely difficult." The man had his brows furrowed all this time, as if he was still hesitating.
Qing Shui was now experienced about the world and could tell from his expression that this must be something which could concern people's' lives. Therefore, the man was considering if Qing Shui was reliable and if he had the capability to pull it off.
"I'm aware that I might not be able to accomplish it immediately, but I'll definitely do it in the future. There's no one else in the Greencloud Continent who's more suitable than me. While you might not really believe or understand me, you should understand your daughter and her judgement."
The man's eyes lit up before he smiled and said, "Actually, her real parents hadn't hope for her to be able to accomplish this affair but I'll still tell you. Regardless whether you can do it or not, I hope that you won't tell her. Only tell her when you have the ability to pull it off."
“Of course I won’t tell her. Since Uncle was willing to tell me that she isn't your flesh and blood but still wouldn't mention this to her, this affair must be very important.” Qing Shui felt very puzzled as well.
"Have you heard of the Demon Gate?" The man gave it some thought and said.
"Demon Gate?" Qing Shui asked, astonished.
Qing Shui recalled hearing about the Demon Gate from Lady Duanmu. It seemed to be in the Central Continent and he had once asked what was the cultivation level of the strongest person there. He seemed to hear that other than the Demon Gate, there was also the Buddha Sect, the Sky City, the Tang Manor, the Moon City, and the Duanmu City...
These appeared to be the most powerful factions in the Central Continent.
"That's right, the Demon Gate." The man said with affirmation.
"I seemed to have heard someone mentioned it before that it's in the Central Continent." Qing Shui said, sounding unsure.
"I'm not sure either. I can only tell you that if you have the power to do so in the future, bring the lass to the Demon Gate. If you don't have the power to, then don't ever go there. Don't tell the lass that her parents are in the Demon Gate either." After saying all of these, the man appeared to be more relaxed.
Qing Shui nodded. The Demon Gate was of the same level as the Buddha Sect in the Central Continent, while the Buddha Sect was of the same level as the Lion King's Ridge. Now, Qing Shui did not know if he should feel happy or smile bitterly.
Yiye Jiange's issue was related to the Lion King's Ridge and now to think that Huoyun Liu-Li was involved with the Demon Gate. The heavens were really thinking very highly of him, giving him a second existence he would need to deal with, which was also one of the strongest in a continent.
Now, even Qing Shui himself felt that he was quite a big shot to have such ridiculous stuff happened to him. However, thinking of how his soul transitioned into this world and thus made his ability to withstand situations stronger, he felt that everything in the world was possible.
Since he was reincarnated and had met people he love, then he would just work hard. It wasn’t as if there was no hope at all.
 The term firecloud is from Huoyun Liu-Li's surname, Huoyun.
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