Chapter 434 – The Hour of War
The surrounding flames licked against Li Qingshan’s body. He was like a piece of black iron that had been thrown into the furnace to be forged into a sword.
His scarlet eyes flickered like flames as his scarlet hair danced like fire.
Half of Li Qingshan’s body had been swallowed by the magma. Suddenly, he let out an earth-shattering roar and kicked up a great wave in the lake of magma. The various colours of magma, dark red, scarlet red, bright red, golden red, seemed to be blended together, hissing with white smoke that filled the entire cavern.
Rolling flames surged over, colliding against the dim barrier in front of the Spider Queen before shattering. It made her face flicker. Who knew what she was thinking.
Li Qingshan recovered his humanoid form and spread out his arms, laying back on the lake of magma and bobbing up and down. His burn marks rapidly recovered, and the vicious fire poison settled down. Something that imitated the phoenix’s embryo had finally been condensed in his body.
When he raised his hand, the fire gathered in his hand automatically, abiding to his will.
Was this the first layer of the phoenix?
Li Qingshan shook his head. No, something was still missing. This was just a temporary work around against the problem. As long as he was unable to merge fire and water, he would not be able to properly practise the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa. However, this was already quite a large step forward. He had basically gained a grasp over the fundamentals.
Just when he was about to prop himself up, a soul sense pierced the magma and his body, reaching his sea of consciousness. Li Qingshan “saw” the turbulent magma and the violent explosions of the earth bubbles. Among all of that was a golden, glistening infant sleeping soundly.
Don’t tell me this is the Spider Queen’s son?! A thought crossed Li Qingshan’s head, and it was so absurd that it was funny. Even the Spider Queen herself could not reside safely in the depths of the mantle.
The infant suddenly snapped open its eyes. In that instant, Li Qingshan felt like he had been seen through. Before he could even closely tell what was going on, a strand of spider silk flew over, wrapped around him, and directly dragged Li Qingshan out of the lake.
“What did you see?” asked the Spider Queen as her face pressed in.
“I didn’t see any… thing… An infant. Who is he? Or should I ask, what is it?” Li Qingshan changed his mind halfway. If it were a blessing, then it was a blessing, but if it were a curse, it would be unavoidable. Instead of making the Spider Queen doubt him, he would be better off trying to get to the bottom of this.
If they fell out, then he could toss out the phoenix’s embryo he had just condensed and blast her into disarray, giving him the opportunity to slip away.
“So you did see it.” The Spider Queen’s expression changed. She reached towards Li Qingshan, but she missed.
Li Qingshan appeared a hundred steps away in a flash. “I didn’t see him. He was looking at me.”
“Then did he say anything to you?” A hint of nervousness appeared on the Spider Queen’s face. She placed her hand on Li Qingshan’s shoulder and tightened her grip.
Li Qingshan’s heart shivered. Daemon Commanders really were something else. “He only looked. He said nothing at all.”
The Spider Queen’s expression varied, sometimes vicious and sometimes peaceful. Li Qingshan was already prepared with the phoenix’s embryo, poised for anything.
In the end, the Spider Queen’s murderousness faded away. From Li Qingshan’s demonstration earlier, she could tell that Li Qingshan had indeed come for cultivation. He had intruded upon this place accidentally. As long as he had not been sent here under someone’s command and was not scheming something, she was reluctant to kill this powerful daemon at a time like this.
“Don’t mention this to anyone. If even part of it leaks out, I’ll…” The Spider Queen turned her head and kissed Li Qingshan’s cheek gently. Her bright-red tongue brushed past Li Qingshan’s face.
A strangely stimulating sensation filled his mind. However, Li Qingshan understood that this was not a display of love, but a threat. Or perhaps, it was all the same to her. Binding them like S&M, raping them, and then killing them was her natural body.
“I almost can’t help myself. I’ll go leak this piece of news right now.” Li Qingshan wrapped his arm around the Spider Queen’s waist with a smile. He felt like he was playing with fire.
The Spider Queen laughed aloud. Her laughter was sharp, like a trembling spider’s web. Yet, it was strangely pleasant at the same time.
Li Qingshan dismissed his suspicions. He was afraid to open the sumeru ring here now. As he left, Li Qingshan glanced back at the lake of magma again.
However, just what was that?
Deep within the mantle, the infant closed his eyes again. In that instant, it seemed to see the phoenix, but that was just an illusion. That undying bird had already flown away from this world.
It’s been another millenium. Ink dragon, I can feel it. Your age is coming to an end.
Returning to the depth of Cobweb city, Li Qingshan took his leave with the Spider Queen. Although he never obtained an opportunity to open the sumeru ring, he had gained a grasp over the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa, so at least it had not been a waste.
However, as he ventured further away from the mantle, the spirit turtle’s daemon core immediately unleashed its power completely again. He could not help but withdraw the power of the phoenix embryo, but even then, it still felt foreign. This was not something he could rush, so Li Qingshan set the matter aside, focusing his attention on his clone instead.
A special meeting hall had already been erected in his territory. In the centre was a beautifully-sculpted long table. There were six seats to the left and right. The six matriarchs were all present, seated on both sides. The dangling light illuminated the varying expressions on their faces.
There was a new face among them. This was a replacement that occurred very naturally within the clans of night roamers, and there would never be a need to ask about the fate of the previous matriarch.
Li Qingshan arrived at one end of the table. Ye Liubo pulled out his chair for him, and he sat down slowly. The six matriarchs all stood up together. “Greetings, sir Northmoon. Congratulations on emerging from seclusion.”
Li Qingshan brushed them aside. The news of how he had dealt with the provocation from the two powerful Daemon Generals with his clone obviously could not hide from their ears. None of them wanted to disrespect this rising star among the Daemon race.
“Please be seated.” Li Qingshan yawned and leaned against one hand. “Since I’ve already emerged, it’s time to move around a little, just in case the Spider Queen feels like I’ve been neglecting my duties. What suggestions do you have?”
“Bring the map.” Ye Mingzhu clapped her hands, and a guard brought over a mental map. She unfurled it on the stone table. “This is a map we’ve obtained from the humans.” Afterwards, she pointed at a speck on the map. “This is a human city. Sir, you can start there and gift it to the Spider Queen.”
Bang! Li Qingshan slammed the table and stood up. “Do you think the Spider Queen will be satisfied with a mere city of regular people?”
“Yes.” Ye Mingzhu stroked the map and several dozen specks of light lit up. “This is the location of human sects we’re aware of. However, they’re all protected by formations, and they have mechanical turrets from the school of Mohism. All of them are difficult bones to chew. And, once they’re under attack, they will receive reinforcements from other sects very quickly.”
Li Qingshan smiled. “That’s good news!” He casually pointed at a speck nearby. “We’ll go with here. I require you all to partake in this battle.”
“Sir, we still have to manage our clans…” “That won’t do.” “We can send clansmen to assist sir.” Apart from Ye Mingzhu, the matriarchs immediately objected. Who was willing to leave their dens and venture above ground? They were not afraid of the power that human cultivators possessed. They were just afraid the elders of their clans would use this opportunity to usurp them.
“If anyone refuses to take part, they’re welcome to step down right now.” Li Qingshan interrupted them. His eyes shone coldly as the murderousness of the tiger demon surged.