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Chapter 1072 – The Holy Fire Descends
It was rather unexpected, but it was not bad news. The lethality behind the Buddha Slaying sword was extremely great. Just a scratch was enough to claim the life of the enemy, but that was not easy either when the enemy was fully prepared and possessed extraordinary battle prowess. Even when she launched a sneak attack and pushed her swordsmanship to the limit, she had almost failed at injuring the sect master.
But now that there was the hint of buddhist nature, she could use her buddhist cultivation in the process too, pushing the might of the Buddha Slaying sword to a whole new level, which made it easier to pierce the enemy’s defences. Afterwards, all she had to do was wait for the buddhist glow to fade away and for the wounds to kick in.
It was only a single stroke, but it possessed the wonders of both the buddhist and demonic.
Only now did Xiao An basically confirm the path that she had taken was not wrong.
The sect master’s body had been completely devoured by the Samādhi Flames of White Bone. He wanted to turn himself into a Ghost King—an ability that automatically came with the cultivation methods of the Umbral Yin sect. His strength would not only face no decline, but it would even climb bigger. However, he would face suppression from the laws of the world, so he would have to enter the Hungry Ghost realm to continue cultivating.
However, the wound from the sword had reached all the way to his soul, giving him no opportunity at all. He was filled with a sense of indescribable weakness. The Samādhi Flames of White Bone flowed in deeply, setting his soul alight too and almost burning it to a crisp in the blink of an eye. Let alone turning into a Ghost King, even detonating his soul nascence became almost impossible. He was overcome with a tremendous sense of fear.
“How!? What is that sword!?”
The Path of White Bone and Great Beauty was comprehension over life, death, and saṃsāra, but it was for the sake of shattering saṃsāra and annihilating all living and dead beings across the three thousand worlds. It could not even allow the existence of a single soul.
Xiao An said nothing. With a wave of her hand, the Samādhi Flames of White Bone flowed back, gathering in her hand. Apart from the sect master’s howling and struggling soul, there was a black sumeru ring, shining with a special gloss; a string of dark-violet soul beads, where each bead suppressed a Ghost King, totalling to nine; as well as a black set of tattered, ceremonial robes, called the Robes of Mourning. It was the supreme treasure of the Umbral Yin sect that had been passed down through the millenniums. It could give the wearer immunity to the effects of techniques that directly attacked the mind like curses and decrees, and it could also forcefully withstand strikes from arcane treasures. However, it was useless against the Buddha Slaying sword.
Watching as everything he had built up through tremendous effort over the past millennium end up in the hands of his enemy, the sect master cursed resentfully, “You won’t be leaving the Umbral Yin sect today!”
The Umbral Yin Formation of Gathering Ghosts had never stopped operating, and the black swirl instead spun faster and faster, its suction growing stronger and stronger. It dragged Xiao An towards it step by step. If she had been a regular great cultivator, even her soul would have been drawn away.
Under the abyss, countless ghost lights rose up and converged together, dyeing the world with a gloomy colour. A colossal army of undead flooded out like the ocean with countless Ghost Generals and Ghost Commanders in the mix. The deafening war cries even made Xiao An’s bones jolt. Several dozen colossal clusters of yin qi rose up as well, all existences of the third heavenly tribulation.
The Umbral Yin sect was skilled in ghost controlling techniques. Every single great cultivator in the sect could control a few Ghost Kings, as well as countless Ghost Commanders and Generals. Perhaps this army was not even particularly powerful.
However, above the Myriad Ghosts abyss through the power of the Umbral Yin Formation of Gathering Ghosts, they could summon millions of ghosts from the Hungry Ghost realm to protect the sect. Ghost Kings would be forced to listen to their command as well. Given the geography, they could even unleash their full strength, such that they were no weaker than when they were in the Hungry Ghost realm. They did not have a terrifying existence like the great buddha, but they possessed an absolute advantage in numbers.
None of the three great sects of the Green province were easy to take down. Only even larger organisations could achieve something like that at a great cost. If Li Qingshan barged into the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga alone, he would have struggled with just the great buddha even if the Fierce King of Chu and the other great cultivators were not around. He would only be able to find a way to escape.
Yet right now, not only was Xiao An without Li Qingshan’s assistance, almost half of her Skull Prayer Beads had been destroyed, and the Blood Sea Banner was rendered useless too since the battle on Great Buddha mountain. She did not possess a powerful ability that could shatter space like Li Qingshan, so she struggled to break free from the Umbral Yin Formation of Gathering Ghosts. She was at a position of absolute disadvantage.
This could be regarded as dire straits to any cultivator across the nine provinces.
“Who are you? How dare you act so wildly in our Umbral Yin sect!” Two great cultivators of the Umbral Yin sect stood in the sea of ghosts. One had a pale-white complexion, while the other had a darkened complexion. Ghost flames lit up in both of their eyes. They exchanged glances that were filled with fright and fear.
They had sensed them the moment the sect master returned. When the two of them clashed and the sect master activated the Umbral Yin Formation of Gathering Ghosts, they were not even prepared to lend any assistance yet. They just felt like Xiao An had no idea what she was doing, but to their surprise, the sect master actually ended up losing, and he would be defeated so quickly that even his soul ended up in the hands of the enemy. They both made up their minds to never let Xiao An get anywhere close to them.
Xiao An was no different from usual, or in other words, completely expressionless. She ignored the two great cultivators and said to the sect master, “I am neither the living, nor am I planning on leaving. However, the people of the Hungry Ghost realm seem to have never told you why they want me to die!”
She had no idea about the White Bone Bodhisattva’s feats in battle within the Hungry Ghost realm, but she could already guess some of the reasons behind this. Bringing her thumb and index finger together like an orchid, she flicked out a Skull Prayer Bead.
The sect master was taken aback. He had a vague understanding that it was related to a certain prophecy. It seemed as if some “white holy fire” had descended in the Hungry Ghost realm and caused great damage. As for the exact extent of the damage, even the Ghost Sovereign who he was working with did not seem to know the details.
This was not an attempt by the Hungry Ghost realm to keep it a secret, but because virtually all of the undead that had witnessed the White Bone Bodhisattva had died. The ones that survived were all powerful Ghost Immortals and Corpse Immortals. Their statuses were so great that the Umbral Yin sect could not even come close to them. Unless they had a strange and twisted personality like Qiongqi, they would never lower themselves to talk with existences that were “ants” in their eyes.
The sect master experienced an ill omen. All he saw was the Skull Prayer Bead fall into the flood of ghosts before being swallowed immediately. Only then did he ease up slightly. No matter how powerful that skeleton monster was, it could not fend off a million ghosts, let alone several dozen Ghost Kings.
However, Xiao An did not transform the Skull Prayer Beads into a Skeleton Demon. With a crisp snap of her fingers, the Skull Prayer Bead shattered loudly, and the Samādhi Flames of White Bone poured out.
Like sparks to gasoline, there was a whoosh, and the Samādhi Flames of White Bone immediately spread to several dozen kilometers away. Let alone regular Ghost Soldiers, even Ghost Generals were immediately set alight, becoming a part of the Samādhi Flames of White Bone. Only Ghost Commanders could fend it off slightly, but that was only slightly. They were immediately swallowed by the flames, feeding the fire in the process. It drowned out the roaring ghost flames and flooded the Myriad Ghosts abyss, filling it to the brim such that it reached the skies. It dyed the dark night and ground a pale-white.
In that instant, the alarming war cries sank from the sky to deep underground. The Samādhi Flames of White Bone did not give off any sounds like regular flames. Instead, it spread without sound, rendering anywhere it passed to eternal silence.
Immediately, the sect master understood all of it. He understood where the prophecy of the white holy fire came from, as well as why the Hungry Ghost realm tried everything they could to kill her. Only a single thought remained in his head, Kill her quick! Kill her quick!
The sky full of flames left the two great cultivators of the Umbral Yin sect utterly shocked. They let out their yin qi and refused to come within even thirty meters of the Samādhi Flames of White Bone. At the same time, they forcefully ordered all of the Ghost Kings to lunge at Xiao An.
Xiao An raised her hand. The remaining Skull Prayer Beads on her fair wrist scattered and flew out, receiving the several dozen Ghost Kings. This was obviously a battle of certain defeat, but with her actions, the endless sea of fire gathered and surged up, cascading like huge waves until it reached thirty thousand meters in the air, turning into the shape of a hand.
She swung down, and the hand of flames fell like a mountain. The Ghost Kings all dodged frantically, but there were still over two dozen that were sent flying by the hand. Their assault immediately collapsed, while the remaining were stopped by the Skeleton Demons, preventing them from approaching her. As if they had encountered their natural enemy, the Ghost Kings experienced fear from their very instincts. They had been placed under forceful control, but they had no fighting will at all.
She nodded gently. Everything was going according to plan. These weaker ghosts were much easier to digest than śarīra. She could convert them into the Samādhi Flames of White Bone’s power immediately. In her plan, the śarīra were for increasing her buddhist cultivation.
Her white clothes drifted through the air as she stood in the sea of flames, actually openly overwhelming the entire Umbral Yin sect alone.
“You won’t be able to escape!” The sect master howled hysterically.
Xiao An glanced down again. The black swirl was already within arms reach. If she was sucked inside, even her white bones would struggle to withstand it.
Without even looking at him, she extended her hand and closed it gently.
“No…” The sect master’s soul was shattered, turning into a wisp of Samādhi Flames of White Bone and completely vanishing from the world.
Afterwards, she made her way towards the black swirl.
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