Chapter 1071 – Final Strike
“I would never be worthy of the position of sect master.” Xiao An’s eyes rippled as if she was tempted.
“With your strength at this current moment, what in the world aren’t you worthy of? I’ve already grown old. I should have become a ghost a long time ago. Originally, I said your mother would inherit the position, but I don’t think she would contend against you.” For once, the sect master demonstrated sincerity on his gloomy face.
“Then I can only oblige.” Xiao An smiled.
“Please then!” The sect master swung his hand, but he sneered inside, Sure enough, you still want the position, but let’s see whether you’re actually fortunate enough or not!
“Please, you first, sect master- Qingshan!” Xiao An suddenly looked up and beamed with joy.
The sect master shivered inside. He was rather fearful and vigilant of Li Qingshan. If he came to the Umbral Yin sect as well, his plan would probably struggle to succeed. However, when he looked back, the sky was empty, just layers of clouds with no person to be seen.
The joy on Xiao An’s face faded away. All of her human emotions faded away. Her eyes were clear and deep, burning with pale-white flames. She stared right at the sect master and opened her red lips, but no sound came out. “One sword as three thousand.”
The Buddha Slaying sword struck out silently, without any sharpness or murderousness, but it had merged with the profound flexibility behind the three thousand sword moves, becoming as quiet and ungraspable as her.
“Oh no! Nether Claws of Illusionary Yin!” The sect master immediately turned around, and yin qi spurted out over his hands, conjuring a pair of ghost claws. They left behind a string of afterimages as he swung them around, stacking together in various shapes to receive the sword.
Black and white criss-crossed, and the swords and ghost claws shattered one another. In a single breath, the two of them had clashed a thousand times.
They did not give off any sound or energy, but the danger involved was no less than any other battle. They were less than three meters away from each other, almost face to face, so they could clearly make out each others’ expressions.
One was sunken and vicious, radiating with a gloomy aura, while the other was alluring and graceful.
It was like a battle between good and evil, except a skull flickered behind the great beauty, which made it seem even more eerie.
Xiao An gripped the sword firmly and pushed her swordsmanship to the extreme, piercing the layers upon layers of ghost claws.
The sect master was secretly alarmed. He was extremely familiar with the Sword Collection Manual of Heaven and Earth, but her level of comprehension actually seemed even greater than the master of the Sword Collection palace’s. If it were not for the fact that she was inexperienced with many of the moves, he basically would have stood no chance. He caught a slight opening, and a vicious expression flashed across his face. His arms drew back, and his sleeves swelled up from the yin qi. A pair of vicious ghost claws shot out suddenly.
He broke through the three thousand sword moves in a single breath, and the ghost claws grabbed the Buddha Slaying sword. He asked in surprise and fury, “Xuanyue, what are you doing!?”
“Killing you.” Xiao An twisted her sword and broke the golden thread left behind when she slew the great buddha. The sword suddenly lit up with golden holy light, immediately purging the yin qi. A huge, vajra sword condensed around the sword like an avatar for the sword, slashing through the Nether Claw of Illusionary Yin in a single stroke and leaving behind a golden sun.
The sect master’s hand ached, and he retreated rapidly. He said sinisterly, “When did you discover it?”
“Discover what?” Xiao An did not go after him, tilting her head slightly in thought.
“Then why…” The sect master was stunned. Was she only probing him out by suddenly attacking him like this?
“When people of the demonic path do things, they have to ask why?”
Xiao An fiddled around with the Skull Prayer Beads. In the beginning, she only wanted a quiet place for cultivation, but after coming to the Umbral Yin sect, she had a new idea. When the sect master wanted her to inherit the position, it only consolidated her idea—to destroy the Umbral Yin sect.
“Hehe, do you want to find out how you died back then?”
The sect master pulled a little further away and activated the protective formation—the Umbral Yin Formation of Gathering Ghosts—of the Umbral Yin sect with his full strength. Chilly winds spouted out from the black abyss, swallowing the sky full of stars and the lone moon. The whistling resembled the howls of a huge ghost.
Immediately, the region within fifty kilometers of them became a ghost domain.
“Sure enough, it’s connected to you, but I’m not interested.”
Xiao An shook her head gently. If it was not the Sword Collection palace, then it was the Umbral Yin sect. Only these two great sects of the Green province possessed the capability and would want something like that to happen. As for the truth behind everything and who the murderer was, none of it mattered anymore. All she had to do was kill all the suspects. The murderer would definitely be amongst them!
“Hehe, are you aware that the Hungry Ghost realm forbids your existence? The Hungry Ghost realm wants you to die regardless of the cost, even if they have to devour this world. I’d advise you to just offer up your head obediently and assist my Umbral Yin sect in becoming the master of this world. Your mother will thank you for your sacrifice too.”
The sect master spread his arms, and the chilly winds flooded the surroundings, forming a black swirl over the abyss. Everything in the surroundings twisted, including the edge and cliffs around the abyss. It seemed like a huge mouth, squirming about and ready to swallow everything.
Xiao An’s clothes ruffled about, also being drawn towards the swirl, but she did not put up any resistance. “Oh, so there’s a reason like that? Coincidentally, I’ve come for the Hungry Ghost realm too.”
With the progress of her cultivation, the demand that the Path of White Bone and Great Beauty had for resources grew greater and greater as well. Perhaps there would be a day when it would become so great that even butchering all the mortals in the nine provinces would not be enough. She was reluctant to kill indiscriminately, while collecting śarīra only offered temporary relief. However, the Umbral Yin sect’s Gate of Hungry Ghosts was very suitable for this. Destroying the Umbral Yin sect would just be something she did in the process of gaining control over it.
However, she never imagined she would dismantle the sect master’s scheme in the process. Logically speaking, roping her in went without saying given the talent and strength she had demonstrated. There was Li Qingshan on her side as well. If it were not for the fact that the Hungry Ghost realm was offering up a startlingly large reward, the master of the Umbral Yin sect who was extremely skilled at avoiding disasters would never take a risk like this.
As it seemed, she had another group of natural enemies apart from buddhism, all of which were extremely terrifying. However, obtaining such great power would always come at a certain price.
“Hehe, then you don’t have to worry. I’ll send you to the Hungry Ghost realm very soon!” The sect master smiled sinisterly.
“That won’t be necessary. You’re already dead,” said Xiao An.
“What madness are you on about!?” The sect master was completely unconvinced. He opened his hand subconsciously, only to see a golden gash on there. The holy, buddhist light prevented it from closing, except it was only a single slash, which was nowhere near enough to threaten his life. He closed his hand forcefully and shattered the light.
Suddenly, he felt intense pain from his palm. Ever since he had refined himself into a half-ghost, half-corpse existence, it had been a very long time since he last experienced this sensation, but very soon, the intense pain turned into a kind of numbness, spreading throughout his entire body and reaching deep into his soul.
“What! What’s going on? What did you do?”
The sensation of death filled him. As a ghost cultivator, he should not have feared death. Following death, he would convert himself into a Ghost King before entering the Hungry Ghost realm, and he would still be able to exist for a very long time. However, he experienced a primitive, instinctive fear, so he used all of his cultivation to fend it off desperately.
At this moment, a wisp of pale-white fire surged out from the wound. The sect master widened his eyes in fright, dying just like a regular mortal, swallowed by the Samādhi Flames of White Bone.
Xiao An gazed at the Buddha Slaying sword in her hand. “If I use the Buddha Slaying sword like this, it does become more powerful, but the effect will be delayed?”