Chapter 771 – Secluded Cultivation
In a certain swamp in the south, there were no towering trees, just surging sludge and miasma.
A small, dark-green flower bloomed quietly in the swamp, giving off a strange fragrance that stubbornly penetrated the heavy reeking of blood in the surroundings.
Blood splattered on a man’s chest. He stood in a place littered with corpses, chomping away on a thigh with his mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Muscles rippled across his body with a faint, grey colour as if he was carved from stone. He gave off a tough and brutal bearing, eating as he cursed aloud.
“You pigs! You actually touched my Kṣitigarbha flower. You must be tired of living!”
“Yes, yes, yes. We deserve death. We didn’t know it was cave master Stone’s Kṣitigarbha flower! You are far superior to us, a bigger person, so please spare us pigs!”
A group of people lay on the ground, trembling away. In order to search for a thousand-year Kṣitigarbha flower, they had gone to such great lengths, but they never thought they would run into such a vicious person who killed half of their clansman right off the bat. It filled them with grief and fury, but all they could do was kneel and beg for their lives.
“Hmph, spare you? You can all go die!” Cave master Stone snickered and raised his hand.
Everyone knew they were done for. Their eyes were filled with fear, but no one tried putting up a stand. That was not strength they could contend with. All they could do was shut their eyes and wait for their deaths.
It sounded like a clump of wet mud had struck the ground after being thrown down from high up.
The attack they had been imagining never arrived. Some people gathered their courage and looked around. The imposing cave master Stone had vanished. There was a pile of bright-red flesh where he previously stood.
It was as if an invisible hand had descended from above and crushed cave master Stone in a single stroke.
Everyone was dumbfounded. They all believed it to be a miracle.
The moment Xiao An wiped out the two cave masters, Yu Wufeng and the Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber both felt sympathy for them. Now, only the two of them remained out of the eight cave masters of the Lair of Demons.
Xiao An brushed the Blood Oath Scroll gently with her hand, and the bloody words were wiped clean, leaving behind the pitch-black background. After a moment of thought, she began to set down new rules.
The head of the deceased Demon King appeared on the Blood Oath Scroll. Two bloody streaks of tears flowed out of its empty eye sockets, spreading across the background. The colour contrasted so drastically that it was almost blinding, flowing into bloody words.
There were actually many ways to control a person’s fate within the cultivation community, but the person under control would definitely try everything that they could to break out of a situation like that. If they became desperate, they would even be willing to go as far as perishing together with the person controlling them. It was very easy to lead to backlash.
If Li Qingshan only controlled Yu Wufeng and the Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber’s lives and did not constantly keep an eye on them, perhaps they were not bold enough to openly work against him, but it was very likely for them to divulge his secret or come up with various methods to deal with him.
Control like that was a waste of effort. It was more trouble than it was worth.
However, the Blood Oath Scroll was different. As long as they set down restrictions, they would immediately die from the backlash as long as they betrayed the oath even if they were thousands of kilometers away. Betrayal would be nipped at the bud.
As a result, the contents of the oath became extremely important. The Blood Oath Scroll was not particularly large, and the size of the words was fixed too. It could only contain one or two hundred words, in which they had to touch on everything without leaving any gaps, all the while without being too harsh.
For example, if they forbid the two of them from any thoughts related to betrayal, then the curse would definitely be activated immediately, and the oath would be pointless. However, they could not be too broad either. If they asked the two of them to do everything they had to complete a task the moment they received it, it also could easily lead to easy losses despite seemingly making sense. The grasp over the limits required extremely meticulous thought and precise description.
Xiao An wrote the new oath in a single breath before handing it over to the two of them to read. She said, “Swear the oath!”
The two of them looked through it. The contents of the oath were not complicated, nor did it fill the Blood Oath Scroll, leaving behind a lot of blank space. However, as they read through it, cold sweat covered their foreheads. If they swore this oath, then unless she suddenly found her conscience and released them, they would have to spend the rest of their lives as slaves, and the type that was extremely loyal.
Li Qingshan looked at them with a smile. They would never be bold enough to resist. Even though they were very reluctant, all they could do was swear the new oath of blood.
With a flash of blood-red light, two figures appeared on the bottom of the Blood Oath Scroll. The oath had been established!
Li Qingshan clasped his hands. “Congratulations, congratulations!”
“Thank you, thank you!” The Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber returned the gesture with a chuckle and glanced at the pale-white Yu Wufeng. He sneered. “First cave master Yu, you wanted to unify the Lair of Demons, but never did you expect someone even stronger to exist! You’ve really deserved this considering someone like commander Li exists in the world!”
“You-” Yu Wufeng’s face darkened. He was not as thick-skinned as the Gentleman of Heavenly Blubber.
Li Qingshan and Xiao An obtained control over the formations on the mountain from the two of them before sending them back to rest. Li Qingshan even returned the Fogbow sword to Yu Wufeng in great generosity. Since Yu Wufeng was his bruiser, it would obviously be better if he was a little stronger.
“Though, we still have to stop him from undergoing the third heavenly tribulation.” Li Qingshan instructed her.
“He won’t get that opportunity in this life,” said Xiao An.
“That’s good then. We can finally enter secluded cultivation for a while in peace.” Li Qingshan exhaled deeply in relief.
Xiao An smiled too. That was what she loved the most.
Li Qingshan refined the Eight Point formation and remained in the hall in the centre of the mountain that was dense with spiritual qi. He began another round of secluded cultivation.
Li Qingshan had a total of two objectives this time. The first was to push the Demon Suppression Statuary to a higher realm, and the second was to refine the Traitorous Demon sword into a true demonic treasure.
His human and daemon cultivation had actually always been separated from one another. Especially when he transformed into Northmoon, his human cultivation often could not provide any help at all. At most, he would convert it into daemon qi when he needed it, serving as a reserve of spiritual qi. On top of that, no matter how many arcane artifacts he possessed, it would merely serve as a hindrance, completely useless to him.
The level that the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine belonged to was far too high. Northmoon to Li Qingshan was like a giant to a dwarf. The giant only needed to use the slightest amount of force and it could assist the dwarf in defeating powerful enemies, but even if the dwarf used everything it was capable of, it could not provide much assistance to the giant.
This long-term imbalance even began to make his human cultivation unnecessary, seeming like it was only for the sake of maintaining his appearance as Li Qingshan. The problem was the value of his appearance as Li Qingshan and even his identity as a Hawkwolf Guard was constantly diminishing, almost to nothing. All that remained were emotional fetters, which were basically useless.
Only after he had converted his cultivation completely to the Demon Suppression Statuary did the situation change. Although it was one of the peak cultivation methods of this world, the Demon Suppression Statuary was still nowhere close to the Nine Transformations of Demonic and Divine, but at the very least, the dwarf had become a regular person, finally able to assist the giant.
The demon heart in his body had played quite a role in allowing Li Qingshan to easily defeat Yu Wufeng before his strength had completely recovered. It made him stronger and faster. Once the phoenix’s nirvāṇa wrapped up and his powers had completely merged together, perhaps Northmoon would be able to equip a brand-new set of demonic armour, merging the two powers together and allowing him to assume his most powerful form.
Correspondingly, the power of arcane treasures well surpassed arcane artifacts. If he had not used the Demon Dragon sword to defeat the Fogbow sword, he would have never won so easily. Every single arcane treasure was unique. They were so powerful that even Li Qingshan valued them very much.
He focused on the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine, but when his daemon cultivation reached a bottleneck, he would walk the path of human cultivation. The two of them complimented each other, constantly increasing his strength, which became the most optimal choice to make.
Li Qingshan sat with his legs crossed, practicing the Demon Suppression Statuary. He surged with demon qi. Then he placed the Traitorous Demon sword across his knees and took out a demon heart, beginning to refine the sword and cultivate.