Chapter 1075 – I’m a Hero
Gu Yanying could tell what he was planning to do, so she tried to persuade him. “It’s best if you be a little more careful.”
“If just a single sword can twist my will, I’ve spent these decades cultivating for nothing!” Li Qingshan said proudly.
“Decades!” Gu Yanying could not help but sigh in amazement. Regular cultivators probably had not even faced the first heavenly tribulation in such a time span, yet he had already made it to this step, which made her feel pressured for some reason.
“How’s that? You regret it now?” Li Qingshan smiled.
“A little.” Gu Yanying smiled as well.
“It’s still not too late,” Li Qingshan said as he drew the Soul Cycling sword with a clang. He gripped the hilt with both hands and shut his eyes, sending his soul sense inside. The blade of the sword lit up.
Gu Yanying gazed at him with a strange expression, scanning him from up to down, sparing absolutely no details as if she was trying to see through him.
She had basically watched him make it to where he was right now step by step. He was not exactly a shrewd and calculating person. As a matter of fact, he was even a little more simple and straightforward than regular people, except he was always shrouded in a thick layer of mist, preventing her from seeing him properly.
A while later, she looked away and unfolded her fan, waving it about gently. She smiled in a self-deprecating manner. Surely she had not actually regretted it?
The heart of the battle demon flashed with blood-red light, and demon qi surged into the Soul Cycling sword, seeping into the blade. Before long, it was dyed with a layer of demonic light. The refinement process unfolded extremely smoothly, perhaps because his cultivation was greater than when he refined the Soaring Dragon sword, or because the Soul Cycling sword had chosen him, but nothing strange happened at all.
Li Qingshan opened his eyes. He was rather puzzled. Is this it?
“Hmm?” Gu Yanying closed her fan with a face full of surprise.
“What’s wrong? Did something happen?” Li Qingshan asked.
“You used demon qi?” Gu Yanying said.
“Yeah, what’s wrong with that? Am I supposed to use daemon qi instead?”
He was originally a human, and he seemed no different from a human right now, but he was actually no longer a human anymore, but half a daemon and half a demon. Compared to that, full demons were closer to humans, so he obviously used demon qi to refine human arcane treasures. That was what he did when he refined the Soaring Dragon sword back then too.
“The renowned swords of the Sword Collection palace are all prepared for sword cultivators. How can they be refined so easily with demon qi?” Gu Yanying said in surprise.
“That’s… probably because it’s easier to pick up bad habits than good ones! I once obtained a Soaring Dragon sword, which I also refined into a Demon Dragon sword.”
Right from the very beginning, Li Qingshan had advanced valiantly with his cultivation, frequently ignoring the common practises and conventions of cultivation. He had never taken the common knowledge of the cultivation community seriously.
“So the Soaring Dragon Elder really did die because of you!”
Gu Yanying’s eyes flashed. In the past, the Soaring Dragon Elder had been outstanding even among Golden Core cultivators, yet he had died on the Ice Sword cliff without any proper reason. As a matter of fact, that could not even be regarded as death. He had been directly erased from existence.
“That was the beginning of my grievances with the Sword Collection palace!”
Li Qingshan smiled. He had thought about this many times in the past. If it were not for this, would brother ox have left so soon?
“Let me think about it… I understand now!”
Gu Yanying’s eyes shone. She arrived beside Hua Chengzan and pressed down on his dantian gently; this was where his sword embryo resided. A wisp of hot wind wormed in, wrapping around the sword embryo.
Hua Chengzan’s face suddenly became stricken with pain. His body shook violently, and he was drenched in sweat in the blink of an eye. A while later, Gu Yanying let go and frowned. “The Hot Wind hell won’t work. Looks like I need that disciple of mine instead.”
“What did you understand?” Li Qingshan asked.
“Even if it’s an arcane artifact, converting it into a demonic artifact is anything but easy, let alone an arcane treasure, much less a renowned sword specially prepared for sword cultivators like the Soul Cycling sword.” Gu Yanying flicked the Soul Cycling sword gently. “Unless this is a demonic sword in the first place!”
“A demonic sword!” Li Qingshan lifted up the Soul Cycling sword. The Soul Cycling sword really did resemble a demonic sword right now.
Gu Yanying said, “That would all make sense. When cultivators refine demonic artifacts and demonic treasures, they have to cleanse and purify the demon qi inside first, or they’ll be contaminated by the demon qi, such that they develop various demonic thoughts. Back on Great Buddha mountain, little Hua’s behaviour did not make him seem like he was under someone’s control, but battling the demonic thoughts within his heart!”
There were various kinds of demonic thoughts, like bloodthirstiness and battle-hungriness, or stubbornness and a desire for novelty. However, most demonfolk were without any morals, perverting the concept of right and wrong. They would never sacrifice themselves for their friends. They did not even have the concept of friendship.
When Hua Chengzan framed Li Qingshan in the grand hall, his thoughts were sharp, his speech was direct, and his acting was first-rate. It was basically a demonstration of all of his intellect and wisdom, and it matched his personal interests too. He had basically put his life on the line with the twist that came later, and sure enough, he had almost been executed on the spot by the palace master.
“It is no wonder that I didn’t sense that anything was off.”
Li Qingshan came to some understanding. His heart and mind had always been a battlefield between the demonic and divine, and his demonic nature even surpassed his divine nature. The swords of the Sword Collection palace could lead people down the demonic path, except he was bounding down this path in the first place, having grown accustomed to the heavy demonic nature within his heart a long time ago.
“You’re not a regular cultivator after all. If I’ve guessed correctly, the sword is hiding a demonic seed!” Gu Yanying said.
“A demonic seed?”
“Basically a condensation of demonic thoughts. From the moment demonfolk are formed as an embryo, they are deeply imbued with a demonic seed, which gradually grows with the pregnancy and turns into a demon heart the moment they’re born. Hmm? Sword embryo, sword nascence. What a coincidence!” Gu Yanying clapped her hands.
“Uhh, could you explain it a little simpler?” Li Qingshan said.
“The sword is hiding a demonic seed, while sword cultivators become one with the sword. When their hearts megre with the sword, that’s equivalent to proactively planting the demonic seed within them, except it doesn’t influence them immediately. Only when they undergo the second heavenly tribulation and condense a sword embryo will the demonic seed firmly take root, growing through absorbing their various negative emotions. Only when they undergo the third heavenly tribulation and condense a sword nascence will it bloom and fruit, but it just happens to be at the stage of an “infant”, or a “nascent being”, so they still seem like sword cultivators on the surface, and the techniques they use are still normal. However, their minds will be warped completely. If I’ve guessed correctly, they’ll only become a demon through and through when they undergo the fourth heavenly tribulation, converting all of their cultivation to demon qi. They will probably ascend to the Demon domain too.”
Gu Yanying used her knowledge and experiences to deduce everything step by step from the demonic seed in the sword, yet the end result left even her a little bewildered. After all, the Sword Collection palace was a renowned, righteous sect in the world. They had existed for ten thousand years.
“You mean the entire Sword Collection palace is a hidden pawn planted here by the Demon domain?”
Li Qingshan was rather surprised as well, but in hindsight, it made sense. He had put his cultivation as a Demon King on full display, yet the palace master not only refused to purge him, but he even invited him to the Sword Collection palace to pull out a sword. His behaviour was truly a little abnormal. As for the “Daemon Suppression alliance” or whatever it was and inciting conflict between the two races across the Green province, they were basically up to no good either, making preparations for the Demon domain’s invasion.
“It’s very likely. What a fantastic plan. Not only are they free from the bounds of the laws of the sword, only their most outstanding disciples can become a part of the plan, and only great sword cultivators can learn about it.” Gu Yanying praised. “Oh right, perhaps you saved the Chan Monastery of Deva-Nāga and even the entire Green province!”
“The Demon Suppression hall!” Li Qingshan said with a revelation.
“That’s right. Beneath the Demon Suppression hall is one of the few great demon caverns in the world. If it’s suddenly destroyed, the consequences will be unthinkable. Perhaps all of the great cultivators in Great Buddha mountain would have been taken down in one fell swoop, except just three great sword cultivators working together still seems a little lacking. Perhaps they were hiding something else!”
Even Gu Yanying had no idea that the Soaring Locust King had been lying in ambush in the underground caves beneath Great Buddha mountain the entire time.
Li Qingshan began to laugh loudly. His laughter rolled out, and the sea of flowers rose and fell as a result.
“So I’m a hero!”
The only person he felt like he had let down during the battle on Great Buddha mountain was the Unraging monk. If Gu Yanying’s speculation was correct, then it was totally possible for him to go to the Demon Suppression hall, rub the Unraging monk’s big, bald head, and say, “Master, your trust in me wasn’t misplaced!”
Even the Fierce King of Chu would be forced to admit that he had done fantastically by butchering his wife! Li Qingshan felt extremely satisfied inside. He suddenly spread his arms and pulled in Gu Yanying. “Thanks!”
Immediately, a scorching pain from the very depths of his soul spread across his entire body, but he did not let go.
Gu Yanying was taken aback. She patted his back with a smile. “Alright, stop taking advantage of me. Don’t you find it painful?”
Li Qingshan grinned and let go of her. His heart rippled slightly, feeling a hint of disappointment again. It had been so many years, yet she was still her. However, he was no longer the Li Qingshan of the past. He discarded these useless thoughts very quickly and said sincerely, “I owe you another time!”
If it were him, he probably would have never imagined it was not that the Sword Collection palace was not clever enough, but because of their lack of knowledge. It was quite hilarious now that he thought of it. He had even witnessed the twelve Demon Gods of the Demon domain and killed who knew how many Demon Kings, yet he had basically no understanding of the Demon domain at all. Thinking up to there, he could not help but miss the Great Banyan Tree King. If he were around, he definitely would have been able to provide him with an answer a long time ago!
He secretly made up his mind. Qiongzhi has probably digested the Fruit of Wisdom already. I’ll get the seed from her and plant myself a bonsai too.
Gu Yanying said, “You’re welcome. You can just treat it as once.”
“Alright. If you need help with anything, I’ll definitely assist you!” Then Li Qingshan asked, “Were you trying to purge the demonic seed in Chengzan’s sword embryo earlier?”
“The Illustrations of Naraka are indeed capable of something like that.” Gu Yanying nodded. The Hell realm existed to punish the various sins and crimes, and there was nothing more sinful in the world than demonfolk. “However, the power of my Hot Wind hell is too great, so it might injure little Hua. At the same time, wind is fleeting and not fixed, so it’s not appropriate for something like this. Though, the venomous snakes of that disciple of mine are a little more clever. I’ve already called her over.”
Unlike regular techniques, the pain from practising the Illustrations of Naraka was uncontrollable. Even the smallest wisp of hot wind was a punishment from hell, which was not something Hua Chengzan could withstand with his cultivation.
“Qian Rongzhi!” Li Qingshan frowned.
“You still remember her!” Gu Yanying smiled.
“I don’t understand. Why did you accept her as your disciple?”
“Don’t you find her to be very similar to us?”
“In what way?” Li Qingshan raised an eyebrow.
“Stubbornness! Even in the cultivation community, that kind of stubbornness is very rare. I have very high hopes for her.”
“Be careful, as she might just bite back at you. She definitely hates you. She hates everyone.” Li Qingshan warned her.
“Looks like you have very high hopes for her as well. It’ll be boring if that’s not the case.”
The two of them made small talk as they waited for Qian Rongzhi to arrive. Li Qingshan developed another doubt. The Sword Collection palace should be very aware that a demonic seed is useless on a Demon King. Chengzan found out that I’m a demon a long time ago, yet he still risked his life to stop me from refining the Soul Cycling sword. Does he really have so little faith in me?