Chapter 1003 – Where Conscience Lays, Without Weighing the Costs
Li Qingshan smiled. “A hand from me is extremely powerful. The Clam King of Mirage Sea ascended upon seeing me, while the Great Banyan Tree King soon became a god. You’ve basically found the right person!”
“Hehe, I do believe that. Do you know about the Soaring Locust King?” the Golden Cicada Spirit King asked.
“Who doesn’t in the Green province?”
“I have a great grievance with him. When I ascend, he’ll definitely come to ruin my attempt. I’ll need you to watch me.”
“The two of you have grievances!”
Li Qingshan was very perplexed. The Golden Cicada Spirit King and the Soaring Locust King were both part of the Seventy-two Daemon Kings, and they were both carapaced Daemon Kings, so why would there be any grievances? Even if there were grievances, surely the Soaring Locust King would not take the risk given how cautious he was! He had even hurled insults at the Soaring Locust King in Clear River city, yet it was not like his main body came for revenge. The Golden Cicada Spirit King was a Daemon King who stood at the very apex of the nine provinces on top of that.
“You don’t know, but we used to be good friends. Suppressing him in the Demon Suppression hall of the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga was a plan I came up with.”
The Golden Cicada Spirit King’s infant-like voice drifted over as if his thoughts were in the distant past.
Li Qingshan understood now. It was no wonder the Golden Cicada Spirit King was so certain that the Soaring Locust King would come and ruin his attempt at ascension. This hatred was basically immense. If Li Qingshan himself had been the Soaring Locust King, having spent several thousand years suppressed while the person who betrayed him was allowed to ascend in peace, he would never allow it even if he knew the dangers involved. He would definitely interfere!
Compared to that, being cursed a few times and losing a few clones could not be considered as some major grievance at all.
“That’s correct. I was the one who fooled him into the Demon Suppression hall.”
“And then your identity was exposed, leading to your expulsion from the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga?”
“What was the point of that then?” Li Qingshan frowned. If he had not been expelled by the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, the Golden Cicada Spirit King would be able to practise the Chant of Deva-Nāga. Perhaps he would have ascended a long time ago.
“I had no other choice.” The Golden Cicada Spirit King sighed, but he was certain that even if he could make the choice again, he would go with the same decision.
“If that’s the case, why not face the tribulation elsewhere? Aren’t you friends with the tree king too? You’ll have him watching your back in the Mist province. Even the Soaring Locust King won’t be able to do anything to you.”
“I have no other choice.”
“Because I’m a disciple of buddhism. I cannot allow him to massacre life freely.”
“It’s even more important than leaping out of the well?”
Li Qingshan was astounded. He would be wagering on his path of cultivation both times, going as far as to betray a good friend just to stop him from butchering humans. That was basically a great love for life that even surpassed the boundaries of race. Even among human great cultivators, there were not many who would throw their lives at the Soaring Locust King for the sake of a few mortals!
“You don’t have to think of me as some noble being. If I turn a blind eye to this, it’ll become an inner demon, which will instead be detrimental to my ascension. Among all the things in the world, your conscience is the only thing you cannot flee from. Since I have a heart of benevolence, then I can only act benevolently, which is why I say I have no other choice.”
The Golden Cicada Spirit King’s voice was calm. There was neither any resentment from being expelled from the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, nor was there any pride from thinking of himself as a hero. It was as if he was only doing something within his duty.
Li Qingshan became solemn with respect, not because of the Golden Cicada Spirit King’s heart of benevolence, but because he had no other choice.
All that guided him in life was his conscience. He did not weigh the numerous costs and benefits, calmly accepting all that fate had to offer.
“Alright, I’ll lend you a hand!”
“Thank you,” said the Golden Cicada Spirit King.
“I won’t be leaving the Green province any time soon. When you ascend, let me know, and I’ll rush over immediately. Oh right, where’s my gift?”
“You’ll get it when the time comes, but since you’ve come, I’ll give this blade to you.”
A golden streak of light flew out of the magma and passed through the earth. Li Qingshan extended his hand and caught the light, swinging it around. It was a buddhist blade without an edge. It was not decorated at all, but it seemed simple and solemn, possessing a buddhist truth to it. Grasping it in his hand, even his mind settled down. It was an extremely rare buddhist treasure.
“This is my personal blade. When I first arrived at the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga, I wanted to steal the cultivation methods and strengthen my cultivation, as well as destroy the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga and deal a heavy blow to the human cultivation community of the Green province if the chance ever arose. However, as I progressed with my cultivation, I became uncertain, so my master gave me this blade. This blade is not for battle, but for concentrating the mind and severing afflictions, which is why it is called ‘Affliction Severing’.”
“What a fine name!”
Li Qingshan raised the edgeless blade, and the golden light illuminated the entire cavern. Even without the suppression of the Spirit Turtle’s Method of Sea Suppression, his demon heart fell quiet. From a perspective of cultivation, Affliction Severing was even more precious than Tiger’s Fang, but unfortunately to him, he did not have much use for it. Since he had comprehended Remorselessness of the Demon Heart, he could only follow down this path until it led to his demise. Compared to severing his afflictions, he would much rather prefer killing powerful enemies.
“Affliction Severing!” Lolth said in surprise.
Having spent all these years with the Golden Cicada Spirit King, Lolth obviously recognised the blade. She never imagined the Golden Cicada Spirit King would actually give this blade to Li Qingshan. When she recalled the terrifying strength he had demonstrated earlier, her various thoughts of revenge gradually faded away. Daemons worshipped the strong. He had already proved his strength.
As a result, she walked over with Tigress. Tigress looked up at Li Qingshan, and her face was filled with reluctance, but after a glare from Lolth, she still ended up saying tenderly, “Father!”
Li Qingshan’s heart skipped a beat. This was different from having a foster son. This was his bloodline. His blood flowed through the veins of this little bugger. He naturally became attached to her.
He glanced at Lolth. “You’ve taught her well. I’ll spare your life this time.”
“I won’t lay my hands on you ever again,” said Lolth.
“Whatever you want.” Li Qingshan looked at Tigress and said, “I may be your father, but there’s not a lot I can give you apart from your bloodline. You’ll have to walk the path ahead of you yourself!”
“I don’t want you to give me anything. I’m very strong myself!” Tigress said.
“Really? You really are my daughter!” Li Qingshan smiled. With a clang, he drew Tiger’s Fang from his waist and brought it together with Affliction Severing, bringing them in front of Tigress. “Choose one!”
Neither of the blades were a weapon that she could wield right now. Her personality would definitely be drastically affected in the process. She was not choosing a blade, but a path in life as well.
If she chose Affliction Severing, then she could inherit the Golden Cicada Spirit King’s buddhism. Her disposition would gradually settle down, and she would not be so violent and irritable anymore. However, if she chose Tiger’s Fang, then she would embark on the path of an asura. She would fight and slaughter to the very end, completely unleashing the blood of the tiger demon within her.
Before Li Qingshan had even finished what he was saying, Tigress rushed over and grabbed Tiger’s Fang before returning to her prior spot. Her eyes twinkled brightly as she fiddled around with it fondly, like a child who had just been given their beloved toy. She did not even spare a glance at Affliction Severing.
“Didn’t you say you don’t want anything from me?” Li Qingshan smiled as he sheathed the remaining blade. The sheathe the Great Banyan Tree King personally created changed shape naturally, swallowing Affliction Severing.
Tigress turned bright red and replied defiantly, “It’s not like I asked you for it! You insisted on giving it to me!”
The Golden Cicada Spirit King sighed, and Li Qingshan said, “Fellow, there’s no need to sigh. This also happens to be where her conscience lies.”